Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Sometimes I wish I were less sensitive

To preface this post, my friends who were adopting from overseas have a blog that I have been reading. I posted about my mixed feelings here .

And I have seen amazing pictures of their new daughter and their journey. I won't post them here out of respect for their privacy. As I predicted she is beautiful. My husband says that all babies are beautiful, otherwise people wouldn't take care of them. Whether or not this is true, they are making it work.

What I will say though, is that my friend described some of the other children at the orphanage. Some who may not be adopted.

What can I say, I'm a sucker for these kinds of stories. I may have a link to Olga Spachil's blog in my blogroll - because I remember her from Krasnodar - but I don't go there often. Because I get too upset seeing photos of kids in rows of cribs.

And it's not just orphanages.

I got upset in August of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit. I had two 3 and a half month old babies. And listening to the devastation of people trying to evacuate and stuck in the convention center - I couldn't help but think, what would I do? In an emergency shelter with two babies who go through a can of formula a week? With no fresh water? In the dark? The twins were barely sleeping through the night at this point (which may have been part of the reason I felt pretty emotional about it).

This was the second time I took a hiatus from listening to npr on my daily drive to and from work.

The first was, understandably, after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11th. I have yet to watch either the Flight 93 or World Trade Center movies. It has been five years. I could watch them - but I know I'd be a basket case.

For me, it's not the terror of being attacked on American soil. I think it's the terror of finding myself on a hi-jacked plane and doing what needs to be done. I know I could do it. I just get stressed out thinking about it. Thinking about leaving my family and friends.

Both times I made a conscious choice to turn off the radio. I actually find npr very comforting and listen to other stations as I travel. At some point, I may post about just how great I think npr is. Not in these situations.

I struggle with finding emotional boundaries. I know logically that I cannot save all the world's orphans. I know that there are a ton of kids who will grow up without parents or good homes. I also know that there's nothing I can (or will) do about it. I need to start by being present with my own kids and work from there.

Yet I find it hard to let these types of societal tragedies go. I knew, listening on Sept. 11th 2001 and during the aftermath of Katrina that there was nothing I could do. I could send money (which I think I did) but it didn't make me feel any better. I read about people who gave up everything to drive to Mississippi - to help rebuild. Others who worked giving emotional support to the survivors of the NY tragedies.

I know bad things happen. These types of things, while impacting me emotionally - don't keep me from sleeping at night. I just find myself affected by these things completely out of my control. And sometimes I find I need to turn off npr.

3 comments:

north node said...

I can rarely bring myself to listen to or watch the news either after or before a day of work for exactly the same reason. Mostly, I read news online, where I can pick and choose the headlines I can handle and where I can go away when it gets to be too much and then come back to it.

You are one of the strongest people I know, and I think sometimes that can be as much a burden as a blessing. Regardless of all the bad things that can and do happen in the world, I'm grateful that you and your family are safe and secure today.

Aerin said...

Thanks North node for your comments and compliment to me about being strong.

As far as npr goes, truth be told, 99 times out of 100 I like listening to it. I can't watch the evening news and see body parts and explosions. But for some reason, I can hear them as background noise on an npr report - it's just not the same. Who knows.

Anyway, I listen for other stuff that I don't hear anywhere else. Things like the voices on the verge album I picked up years ago. The story about building schools in Iraq. I love the series - this I believe, lost and found sound and the writer's almanac.

In all honesty, I would have to search to find things I don't like about most of the programming on my local npr station.

I sound like a pledge drive - but it really is odd, quirky stuff that shamefully - I don't hear about anywhere else. So I'll keep listening. I just may turn off the radio every once in awhile.

Freckle Face Girl said...

It is difficult not to let these types of tragidies get to us. They are simply horrific. I don’t think turning it off means that you are weak, it means that you get it and need a break to stay sane. I'm like that too.