I know what you’re thinking, and NO, this isn’t a post about that.
On my drive to work last night, I thought about a few things that I’ve been meaning to post about for a while now. I get these ideas stuck in my head, and I have this urge to get them out but just never blogged enough to get around to it. My posts usually ended up being pissed off rants about something horrible that’s happened, or a depressed recounting of my horrible day.
But I was thinking about how incredible it is that I can remember the exact moment I lost my total innocence, and how the world around me became a darker place.
My dad and I were sitting in the living room of our house in Smithers, B.C. I was probably about 9 years old, and we were watching TV and talking. Dad and I talk all the time. He’s probably the smartest person I know, and I credit him for not only my intellect but my desire to constantly be better than I am. I can’t remember exactly what we were watching, but I know some sort of commercial came on about a program on the second world war. Now, up until this point in my life, I had firmly believed that people were good – the whole world was good. I knew about war, and murder, and all of those bad things… but they didn’t happen any more. We, as humans, had grown past all of that. I knew that.
I remember asking my dad why Hitler did all of those bad things. I remember saying, “People were really evil back then. How long ago was that war, Dad?” I clearly remember thinking the number 500 years ago in my head. Dad replied, “World War II was about 50 years ago, Mand.”
What? 50 years ago? Grandpa was alive? People let this happen? Hitler killed all of those people just 50 years ago?
I couldn’t get a grip on it. I felt sick to my stomach. I cried myself to sleep that night, and it took me weeks afterward to get those thoughts out of my head. Suddenly, everything in my life seemed a little darker. The world I lived in was no longer essentially good, and that was a hard thing to let go of.
It’s sort of sad… after that moment, no single thing I learned about the way the world worked seemed all that bad. Compared to the evil of murdering millions of people, the rest of the bad stuff was really just sorta bad.
I look at Ronan, and so desperately want to protect him from that moment. I want to hold him close, and keep his innocence, his child-like wonder intact. But to be quite frank, I think it’s probably a bit of a miracle that I made it all the way to nine years old before mine was taken away. I suppose I should just hope that he makes it that far as well.