It's my second blogiversary, more or less. I started this blog on December 19, 2011, four days after my Dec. 15th birthday, to announce to the world my despair with getting horrifyingly old yet never getting any of my books published, and to provide myself with a writing outlet so that I could experience something other than feeling like I was shouting down an empty well.
Two years have passed, and I've come to love this blog like the true friend it's proven to be. I'm still not published - that hasn't changed. It's my birthday that has changed irrevocably for me instead. Last year it arrived the day after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, and every year for the rest of my life, it will be inextricably bound up for me with that event. Gone is the luxury of spending my birthday wallowing in self-pity because I haven't achieved everything I've wanted in life. My children are alive and healthy. I've never had to rip out a piece of my soul as the result of kissing my kindergartener goodbye for a few hours, sending him or her off to school, and then learning later that day what goodbye really means.
Kindergarteners. Babies just learning to tie their shoes and zip their jackets. Gone for a year and a day on this birthday of mine... and so on... and so on, through the years. Now, my birthday brings me new responsibilities, because although I've changed, America's gun culture hasn't. Our federal gun laws haven't. The NRA's ludicrous suggestion that the Second Amendment's reference to a "well-regulated militia" means that virtually any person in America who wants a gun should be able to get one almost effortlessly hasn't changed. One year after Newtown, we have learned exactly nothing, and the school shootings keep coming.
When I told my husband tonight that I'm going to donate the birthday money that both my mother and my mother-in-law gave me to Americansforresponsiblesolutions.org, he told me that I'm very generous. He could not be more wrong. What I am is very, very fortunate, unlike so many parents across this country whose children one day happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I feel helpless and infuriated about Newtown and all the other school shootings. I feel helpless and infuriated about the daily "gun fails" around the country that David Waldman, as a true public service, tweets about at @KagroX. A sickening number of them involve small children finding their parents' unsecured guns and accidentally killing their siblings or playmates.
I am not generous. I really believe that my December 15th birthday has laid a responsibility on my shoulders, and I am trying to do what little I can to meet it.