Snug in my little Seattle cocoon, I've been almost completely removed from what's gone on in Iraq. I've read news stories. There was the occasional young man I knew three times removed who'd gone over to serve. That's the extent, though, of my immersion into the operation that's killed many thousands of Americans and Iraqis.
On the day I went into labor with Max, March 20, 2003, the headlines, in 120-point sans serif, screamed that we'd gone to war. It was all anyone talked about.
I was in triage at Swedish hospital and the nurse assigned to me didn't have the innate sensitivity to keep quiet.
I cared about sending people to war. I did. Even doubled over, clutching my swollen gut as contractions gripped me three in a row before easing so I could catch a breath, I cared.
But, I was bringing forth a new person and I didn't want to, couldn't bear to, hear about the ravages of the world as I silently grimaced through giving birth. Finally, from somewhere inside the haze of pain, I found my voice.
"Enough!" I said to the nurse, my husband, and anyone else within earshot of my curtained off room. "No more war chitchat. Please!"
They hushed. And I folded back into myself, hoping beyond hope we were doing the right thing by bringing a child into these times.
Later that day, after Max was snuggled in my arms, J. went out and bought a couple newspapers sporting the headlines I found so disturbing a few hours earlier. We still have the papers around here somewhere. Maybe I'll dig them out and show them to the kids. "Look," I'll say. "This war has been going on your entire lives. And now it's over."