The Mountain Top

This is hard to relate without sounding like bragging, but here goes: Carolyne wanted to see a video of MLK speaking (we were at his memorial last Saturday), so after dinner we watched a clip from his “Mountain Top” speech. I told her that it was the last one before he was assassinated. Carolyne watches these kinds of historic videos very closely. At the point when King says that’s he’s not fearing any man, she turned to me and asked, in all seriousness, “Did he know he was going to get shot?” I don’t know what age that question may have dawned on me, but I’m pretty sure I was not in kindergarten. How did we get here? I’m struggling with how to answer that beyond, “You’re not really supposed to pick up on these things just yet, kiddo.” Part of me erupts in quiet amazement; part of me worries that she’ll want to read and watch and witness things that are very difficult to comprehend on an emotional basis. You want to protect your child, but you also want her to know that life is complex, that people inflict terrible violence on each other, that good people - and joy - can be taken from us. Of all the things that make up parenting for me, calibrating the emphasis between her joy and her inquiry is one of the hardest to manage. I really wish I knew what goes on in that brain of hers sometimes.