I missed the fireworks last night, but crashed a hippie barbecue with N. and her dog in tow. Now, I know how to crash a party. I’ve done it enough times in the area, with a big smile on my face and a funny story to entertain everybody. The hosts were really nice. But everybody else danced around me, N., and Y. We were the only brown people at a fairly large barbecue. Despite our willingness to make conversation, the other guests were never really ready to engage with us as people. They instead did odd things: touched my earrings without permission, mispronounced Y’s name with enthusiasm, and mentioned their adopted children to show they were down with the struggle. They were thankful for N.’s dog, for some common ground to connect with us.
We gave them a reprieve. The house is on a lake, so N., Y., and I went and sat on the rocks to chat. Kids were playing in the water alongside adults. I was happy!
Until I saw that one little girl was completely naked, and not around her parents.
I was genuinely disturbed. It wasn’t as if the little girl took off her clothes to run around and a parent ran behind her to put them back on. She was a toddler who was playing naked for a long time around A LOT of adults and other children. People were coming and going in the party. There was no way to know what their values were. Adults kept an eye on her, somewhat, but no one found her parents and asked to put her clothes back on.
I wanted to protect and shield her from any potential harm. N., Y., and I were uncomfortable, and left soon after we saw this little girl playing naked.
So many of the parents there were high. I don’t smoke weed, and certainly wouldn’t do so around children. Right next to the bathroom, there was a room that was open. The haze of smoke was so thick I could see it.
One of my friends made an important point: if the party was full of black people who were high, and there was a naked black child running around, and a few white people crashed the party, they would have called Child Protective Services. There would be dire consequences. But here, we had the mountains, the lake, a naked girl, and a bunch of people acting like it was the Garden of Eden before the Fall.
The problem is that it isn’t heaven, or the Garden of Eden. This is a world where little children get raped, and abducted. I was irritated by the adults’ belief that everybody around them was innately ‘good’ and incapable of hurting this little girl. That assumption placed this little girl in a circumstance where she could have been assaulted.
Aside from that danger, there were really sharp rocks around, and she had no clothes to protect her at least a little bit if she fell.
N., Y., and I share a quiet anger about the recklessness of some of the parents of the party. I oftentimes think about having children and how I would like to raise them. The older I get, the more threatening the world seems to me. I want to be a parent who sets healthy boundaries so that my children can have fun, but also be shielded from all the variations of evil this world holds.
After last night, I realized that I need to pray harder.