61. American Folk Hero: it’s Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed…and Gabby!


A few weeks ago I heard on the radio (we listen to WTOP in the car) that former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was going to appear in court at the sentencing of the man who shot up a supermarket in Arizona, debilitating her and killing several others. Her husband, Mark Kelly, read a statement for the both of them.  I forget the bulk of what he said, but what is seared in my memory is that he told the shooter, After this day we’re never going to think of you again.

Ooooh, I thought.  How cutting.  That was a real zinger.  Because I suppose the primary driver for anyone to do such a heinously violent thing would be to gain significance, even if it’s infamy.  But it didn’t work.  That man was willing to kill people to make the world notice, but I can’t even remember his name. His actions elevated Gabby Giffords from “Extremely Accomplished Woman” to “American Folk Hero,” but he’s just “that guy at the supermarket.”

That man altered the course of her life, but what people focus on is not what he did, but how she responded to it.  I saw an episode of 20/20 about her and I cried my eyes out when she cried out of frustration during Therapy.  It was looking a little too familiar.  But she’s moving and speaking really well right now, and my other takeaway from the show was that she appears to have selected a real winner as a partner in the race of life in Cmmdr. Kelly.  Meanwhile, as the world waits to see what she’s going to do next as she continues on the upward trajectory of recovery, the chapter is closed on the man who shot her at point blank range.  I can’t even remember what his sentence was.

On to happier thoughts:  It’s part of the human experience to search for significance.  Some people are so desperate that they embrace violence in order to get people to notice them.  This is wholly unnecessary, though, since everyone matters to God.  One way parents teach their kids about this is the simple celebration of significance known as The Birthday Party.

Ezra had his 3rd birthday bash this weekend.  His actual birthday is a little later on, but I’m glad we celebrated early so he got a special day that was not mixed up with the arrival of his little brother.  We celebrated with a bunch of his friends by taking a train ride.  All of my PT experience culminated in my ability to get myself into and out of the little red caboose.  We should have taken pictures, but we didn’t, since my family was busy spotting me as I climbed the big ladder/steps.   But it was entertaining, I assure you.

Ezzie was a little nervous at first and parked himself next to Grammo (Mommy) and looked out the window.  He felt a little better when it was lunchtime and Ruth came to ask him about his menu selection.   Then Ernie took him “upstairs” to the little cubby where there is a small bench and a window.    Big sister Karine was immediately comfortable in these little cubbies but Ez needed some warm up time.  He later sat there and ate a special dinosaur cookie with Grampo (Dad).  I think the time with Ernie and Dad sealed the deal for him and made Ezra comfortable in his train ride party.  By the time Ruthie lit the candles on his celebratory cupcake, he was smiling.

I was so pleased to be able to join the party on the train.  It was a little rustic but a fun experience, and after all, you only turn 3 once.  I am so glad we were able to make a special day just for “my son,” since we will all be bustling around a new baby soon.  But that day, with the juice boxes, “Tommy Choo Choo” napkins and dairy-free cupcakes was all for Ezra since that boy is hugely significant in our lives and we wanted to celebrate it.