Are those robots, Daddy?, my sweet Boy whose love makes my heart full asks.
Tanks rumbling through the streets of Soviet Georgia, the picture splashed across the front page of my morning paper, has prompted this inquiry.
Well... they're kind of like robots, I say. They're called tanks.
What do they do, Daddy?
My heart sinks, it chills alongside my coffee.
They are like big guns, I say hesitantly, knowing his cross examination and curiosity will not let me go.
Every parent knows this inquiry of whys? and whats?, but for me this is a moment of sadness. A loss of innocence in which I am complicit. The "Where does honey come from?" or "Why is the moon following us?" seem so pure and proper to ask. No less easy to answer, mind you, but part of the natural order of things.
But, how do you explain to a four year old boy that we humans have invented these colossal machines to kill each other. Some say to "protect us from each other." Either way, a sad excuse.
I am not a pacifist - wish I was - wish I had my front tooth back. My boy humbles me, softens me. My boy is a mirror.