Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Proximity & Prevail (by Michelle van Kriedt)

For this year's A-Z Challenge, I am organising my writing group's participation for the first time. So I am posting each entry here as well as on the website, Write On, Mamas! who are a writing group based in the San Francisco North Bay area. We will have 25 Mamas and one Papa writing on a different letter of the alphabet during the A-Z Blog Challenge. Comments are always so appreciated here or it would also be lovely if you would comment on the Write On, Mamas! blog. Thanks and look forward to reading your blog.
Photography by Mary Allison Tierney

He calls it “when your numbers are up.”  Most of us simply call it “dead.” But “he” happens to be four and half with an emerging appreciation for the linear and rational. One day I’ll explain – try to explain – that sometimes being dead isn’t limited to how I frame it now.

A question about the Pixar movie, Up prompts a conversation along these lines.

With a concerned tone and woeful eyes, my son asks, “Mommy, why did the man’s wife die?”

“Sweetheart, she was really old and so her numbers were up.”

Curiosity about why a classmate’s older brother (a child) died  prompts this dialogue.

“Mommy, why did Pilar’s* brother die?”

“Sweetheart, he was really, really sick and so his numbers were up.”

Driving in the car listening to music provokes this exchange.

“Mommy, who is that man singing on the radio?”

“Bradley Nowell, the lead singer of the band Sublime**, he made really, really, really bad choices, so he’s not alive anymore.”

“He made bad choices and so his numbers are up.”

“Yes, sweetheart.”

“I won’t make bad choices.”

A deeper than usual breath, followed by “I know, sweet-man.”

Just like I know my son will make bad choices, I know that one day, in the wake of a tragedy, like the horrific bombing in Boston this week, I will be among wobbly parents faced with the responsibility to explain something – not only nonlinear and irrational, but evil.

“Sweetheart, we co-exist with bad guys, some people are the pestilence of Planet Earth – it’s terrible, but true. But, you know, the good guys outnumber the bad ones and so that makes us good guys even more powerful and strong.”

For as long as bad guys have used poisonous words, perilous threats and even, tragic proximity, it has not stopped the good guys. The good guys will prevail.

*Name changed
**Sublime song on radio was not R-rated

Michelle van Kriedt is a native Michigander who lives, loves, works and writes in Mill Valley, CA, with her husband & son. Her dual mantra is Family-Meaning. Tweets in between can be seen at @carmelmichelle.


  1. Yes, an old

  2. The movie, Up, did spark a lot of conversations, didn't it? So many conversations with kids these last few days have been tricky. Thanks Michelle.

  3. The good guy's numbers will never be up!

  4. The good guys will surely rise up each time.