Hidden Camera—Basketball

We met because our children played in the same basketball league. My son and his daughter were on a team where the coach was stretched too thin. I volunteered my older daughters as coaches and every week we tried to be there for extra support and practice.

One game stands out in my memory. The opposing team had ringers and parents so focused on winning that they badgered and heckled our team.

I approached one of the league officials and asked her to intervene. She refused.

Our kids lost and we comforted them with words about how hard they had played and how unfair it all was.

Now it just seems like a metaphor for all that was yet to come.

The Age Factor: Ahlittia North

Sometimes in the effort to write about extremely difficult stories I cut corners in my clarity of purpose.

It is hard to face so many tragedies.

But this time I need to be painfully explicit:

If the news report is correct, Ahlittia’s mother was a mother by 14. Her current partner is 46.

13 year olds do not decide to have sex for kicks (with other 13 year olds). They are more likely to be the sexual targets of older men. That is rape.

When I was 13 I knew a young woman who was pregnant as a result of incest–raped by her step-father. I hope he went to jail for it, but I am not optimistic.

I do know that my schoolmate was brave and deserved more support and help than she received. To carry a pregnancy at 13…to walk through the aggression of rape by a family member…

Her child is 30 now.

When I say, good folk did nothing, I mean this–

Whatever the story of Ahlittia’s murder, her life proves that her very young mother was a victim as well.

Baby girl is gone, who will help Lisa North? And more to the point–who could have helped before her kindergartener was murdered?

What happened to Lisa was a crime.

What happened to her daughter was unspeakable. But we must learn to speak it.

Make yourself uncomfortable. Ask the hard questions. And treat the Lisa Norths of the world like kin.

Because, to quote Carson McCullers–the life you save may be your own.

–praying for Lisa.

Is More Better? Polyamory and the Murder of Alanna Gallagher

Okay….this seems like it should be bigger news than it is.

While I appreciate everyone’s efforts to validate this family’s decision to pursue a polyamorous relationship, I just keep thinking about my latest parenting theory gone bust–

We have resident barn swallows who are very protective of their young. Sometimes the family consists of mom, dad, and babies, but sometimes there is an additional parent–presumably a second adult male.

All the parents are very attentive. I admit I have envied them a bit–thinking that, quite frankly, adult male sexual partners are a pain in the a…, but a super-attentive manny would be nice.

The police seem to be at a dead end in solving the brutal murder of a little girl, but one thing is sure–all three of Alanna Gallagher’s “parents” failed her utterly.

She would have been better off with the barn swallows.

Eclipse of Light

It was a solar eclipse
Splashing darkness
Across half the earth
Like a child stretching his blanket
Across the bare
Wood staircase–
Upstairs young man!
His mother admonishes

Never realizing
His life is the smallest
Gossamer thread

From her life to mine

They say
if you try
To look
Directly into the sun
During an eclipse
Seek professional help

Do they mean scientists or

I won’t know.

I just
That staring
Straight into the
Face of God himself
Is impossible hubris
The shadow of the Cross
Shields the mortal