My eyes welled up as I stood chopping veggies, but no onions were in sight. I was near tears because I was listening to a story on NPR about a camp for children whose parents died in the Iraq War. The piece was more than gut-wrenching. It was a call to action. I can no longer sit and listen to these stories. I must do something to help end the war.
Months ago I asked my boys what we can do to stop the war. Us? Our family? Don't you mean what can the President do?
I explained that in a democracy, it's up to the people to tell the president what to do. Not the other way around (in theory, at least). But we never acted on our discussion. Not until last week when I got invited to a war vigil. So I gathered up posterboard and markers and set the boys loose. Well, sort of. First my boys and their friend started printing colorful messages like "Bring the Soldiers Home" and "Soldiers Come Home." Seven year-old Pikachu's created a more abstract message of peace with flags and countries and tears and....
And then the boys began asking thoughtful, probing questions- who's fighting with us and who are the enemies? How many people have died?
Finally, as happens in our house, things degraded. Rapidly.
Can I draw fighting? No.
Can I draw guns shooting? No.
Can I draw just guns? No! This is a peace vigil for goodness sake!
I already drew a soldier, is it okay if he has a gun? Soldiers have guns, you know. Ugh. Always a loophole. Fine, the soldier can have the gun, but after after you draw it I'm putting away the markers!
The vigil (or war protest, as the boys liked to call it) attracted about 40 or so like-minded people, including four families with children to a busy intersection to spread a message of peace. Many who drove past our group honked or waved "peace fingers" in support. Okay, one guy waved a different finger and shouted something that I couldn't quite make out, except for the words m-----f-----. But overall the people driving through town were cool with our message.
"I didn't know standing around with a sign was going to be so fun," said Smartypants at the end of the muggy evening. We both felt like we'd done something good, something worthwhile. (Pikachu, not so much; he's rather hawkish.)
I can't say if I'm entering a new era of political involvement, but I did just invite the Senator Obama and his wife to meet me and a crew of my mommyblogging friends. Now what will I serve them if they show up?
BTW, the girl in the picture did not make posters with us. She would never even think of drawing guns on a peace sign.