Just before my one year old daughter closes her eyes, we look up at the stars that shine bright from her bedroom ceiling and whisper, "Star light, star bright…".  We make a wish, but we never tell.

Ever since my daughter was born last May, I've been struck with the notion that I'll never be able to close my eyes again.

In her first year of life, three catastrophic events brought an element to motherhood that I'd never have thought possible; questions that I was totally unprepared for.   The monstrous storm, Sandy, that robbed the comfort of home for thousands of people, including my own family, left me wondering What if?  The shooting at Sandy Hook shattered the belief that school was a safe haven for teachers and their students.  And I was left wondering How? when evil struck Boston and left hundreds of wounded bodies and thousands of broken hearts behind.

The lights are now dim in my daughter's bedroom.  Soft music plays.  I watch her bright eyes and smile fade into a sleepy state. Her fingers are wrapped tightly around mine and her head is nestled between my arm and chest.   Her breathing is soft and rhythmic.  She dozes off in her little cocoon and I stare at her, overwhelmed and bewildered.  As the world has been shaken by trauma and harm, as the media floods newspapers and television with one grim image after another, my little girl sleeps soundly in my arms unaware of such evil.   It's in these moments that I wonder, how will I ever answer her when she asks me, "Why?" 

Why did the ocean decide to visit people's homes? 

Why did that man shoot little girls and boys in their classroom?

Why are people crying at that big race?

Why are people so cruel?

I think of my own parents and how they must have tackled such questions.  When I was a little girl and my 90 year old great uncle was in a coma, I asked my mother, "Mommy, what's wrong with Uncle Hal?"  She replied, "Oh, sweetie. He's taking a little nap." 

I think of the divide amongst my students in my second grade classroom; those who knew what took place on 9/11 and those who had never heard of it.

The question becomes, to what degree do we protect and upkeep the perfect world our children are entitled to?  When does it become ok to reveal the truth about good and evil?  How, as parents, do we decide when to expose our children to the harsher realities of life?

I know this conversation is yet to take place.  I know that in this moment my daughter's world is filled with Good Night Moon, "The Wheels on the Bus", and her beloved stuffed bunny.  But I know the moment will come when she'll open her big brown eyes and begin to see the world for all of its beauty, alongside all of its ugly.   I know the moment will come when she'll ask, "Why?"

But, until that moment, we'll whisper…

I wish I may,

I wish I might,

Have this wish I wish tonight. 

A wish filled with hope.