I must confess, even though I had no butterflies at the ball I have looked at Forum photographer Carrie Snyder’s Butterfly Ball photo gallery over and over again. There is something about all those daddies with their young daughters that I find settling. The young girls’ happiness, the pride evident on the daddies’ faces, the magic of an event where father and daughter bonds are honored and celebrated – it is just one deep breath happy sigh.
I can’t re-post those photos in my blog because they are part of The Forum’s photo purchase feature, but I strongly encourage you to look at the photo gallery of this annual event put on by the Fargo Park District- particularly my two favorite photos: Eric Wilkie dancing with his 3-year-old daughter, Madelyn; and, Mark Evans with his daughters Emma and Ellie. They are A-DOR-ABLE!
But there is more to this story…there is a deeper reason why I find these photos so settling today. They juxtapose another story with another photo of a happy child – a story that did not end well. That story, the story of 8 year old Martin Richard, reports that Martin and his mother and sister were all critically injured by one of the explosions at the Boston Marathon. Martin’s happy life ended yesterday in a senseless event that was clearly intended to send a ripple of fear across Boston and the United States. In a moment, his family’s world was shattered.
Martin Richard (Photo credit: AP Photo/Bill Richard)
Martin’s mother and sister while severely injured – are alive and are expected to survive. Martin’s father had some less severe injuries and his older brother Henry was not injured. Martin’s smiling face has now found its way into newspapers around the world and is being posted and re-posted across social media as part of the tragic telling of what happened in Boston yesterday.
I find senseless violence unsettling. I find the murder of children incomprehensible. In times when these things happen I struggle to understand how people can hurt others like this…I struggle with the notion that this is what our world has become. And so I linger in the Butterfly Ball photo gallery. I try and plant my feet firmly in the simple and pure truisms of life – the love daddies have for their daughters, the sense of wonder and magical engagement children have, and the happiness that we build with folks in the moments. Because really, there is no other place to go but there in these moments – at least not for me. I surmise every other parent feels similar…that is because we all know that there, but for the grace of God, go I. Martin’s parents never thought for a moment that yesterday would be the last day they would see their darling boy alive.
Look at the Butterfly Ball photos and breathe in the happiness and normalcy. It can all be taken away so quickly folks. Martin’s family will now live with a new normal – a very sad reality that leaves them with the understanding that there are some deeply unsettling, and often incomprehensible, events that shatter our sense of well-being and peace.
Day one thousand three hundred and seventy-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da