At toddler time in Las Vegas, a tiny ray of hope

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On Thursday I attended a toddler time at a nature protect, the type of factor I’ve gone to a hundred instances earlier than – a transient storytime adopted by a straightforward craft and a room full of spirited, exuberant children.

However this time was totally different.

This time I used to be a customer to Las Vegas in the wake of a mass taking pictures that passed off simply 9 miles away.

A shot of several casinos and a line of traffic along the Las Vegas Strip


In order households entered the room to the Stevie Surprise track, “Don’t You Fear ‘Bout a Factor,” the lyrics felt steeped with that means. Because the docent learn, “The Little Previous Woman Who Was Not Afraid of Something,” I couldn’t assist however marvel if the title was presupposed to transmit a message to the adults in the room. And as dad and mom gave one another hugs that lingered a little too lengthy, I understood.

It’s solely by happenstance that I’m in Vegas proper now, a street journey that was deliberate a lengthy time in the past.

A toddler boy stands against one of the colorful boulders at Seven Magic Mountains, located outside Las Vegas

After all I by no means imagined that I might be steering my son round memorials on The Strip or he would see me cry as a message about trauma counselors flashed throughout the glitzy, sparkly signal on the Mirage. However right here I’m anyway.


This was the primary time many of these dad and mom had seen one another in a week, and the reduction was palpable — all these residents of a parched panorama, dwelling in a preposterous desert metropolis that defies the percentages to even exist. Although it is a dismal, daunting time, they had been right here in this room for one another. I didn’t purposely listen in on their conversations; they had been simply taking place round me, and it was touching, intimate, and revealing.

“We simply obtained again from Wisconsin final evening,” one mother mentioned.

“Oh good, you weren’t there,” mentioned her pal. “I puzzled.”

One other mother appeared to break down into her pal. She mentioned a mutual pal had been harm and was essential. The 2 clung collectively there, in a room wild with markers and glue, shouts and track, just like the calm eye in a fierce storm.

They didn’t make clear what they had been speaking about. They didn’t must.

The classic Fabulous Las Vegas sign lit up at night


This group of dad and mom was doing what all of us do for our youngsters.

They cloaked the phobia and tragedy of the world by talking across the topic.

No person at toddler time talked about a shooter or weapons or terrorism, nevertheless it was crystal clear what they had been speaking about. It was virtually as if there was an unstated code.

These dad and mom additionally dared to search out some semblance of normalcy throughout a time fraught with worry, anger, and uncertainty. They made their method out into the world, even whereas the city was nonetheless reeling from tragedy, as a result of that’s how a group exhibits energy and braveness.

And right here’s the half that fills me with optimism:

They’ll do it subsequent week too. The dad and mom will present up many times, week after week, bringing youngsters collectively, in the hope that the long run will by some means be higher.

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