How do you explain the bad?

Labor Day weekend marks the “unofficial end of summer.” It also is the weekend of the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, MN. I remember going a few times as a kid, since my grandpa had his steam engine there. Ever since our boys were little, we have taken them back to Rollag on Labor Day weekend. This year was no different. After a long run for Cameron and cross country meet for Dallas in Moorhead, we headed out for some old tractors, steam engines, train rides and plowing demonstrations. It was a record crowd on Saturday – probably because it was too windy to be on the lake. The boys had fun & got some walking in too (5 miles/day to burn off the caramel rolls and double ice cream cones!) We went back Sunday to see a little more of the threshing, steam shovels and saw mills. After a windy day of walking around, Cam and Dallas did some fishing off the kayaks (ours and our niece’s.) They pulled them up into the grass and we had a nice campfire. In the morning, they were gone. Someone had taken them in the night. I didn’t know what to say to the kids when they asked, “Mom, who would do something like that?” It was almost like they suddenly realized that not everyone is “good.”

Then the news story of Jacob Wetterling broke… His body had been found after 27 years of being missing. I was just 16 when he was abducted and it changed the way people viewed the safety of “letting kids be kids.” I still thought of Jacob when I had my own kids. How quickly something can happen and your life can change. Patty Wetterling only remembers her son as 11 or younger. Her memories of seeing him stop at just 11 years old… 11. She didn’t get to teach him how to drive, take pictures at his prom or see him grow up. For 27 years, she hoped that he was still alive. How do you explain  all of this to your kids? How do you explain the bad?

My kids have always had a roof over their heads, a bed to sleep in and food to eat. They never worried about being abused or seeing their parents fight. They have been kind of sheltered, I guess. Part of me wants to protect them from all that is bad, but I know I can’t do that forever. I take tomorrow for granted too much. Do you too? I assume there will always be more time… But then my son gets taller than me and talks about driving. I know my time with them is slipping away. Then I remember how blessed I am… I still have my kids with me. My memories of them aren’t frozen in time. It almost makes me want to wake them up and give them a big hug (but it’s 11:30 pm.)

So, although it stinks to have the kayaks stolen, they are just “things.” Things that can be replaced. I still have my two most treasured little guys and I hope I get to see them become men. I still don’t know how to explain the bad to them, but perhaps I can show them how to be good, and maybe that will be enough. Peace be with you on your journey of enough. My thoughts and prayers are with the Wetterling family as they try to process the news of their beloved son. Our hearts ache for you.

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