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The Nanny Tragedy in New York City: Our Ultimate Sadness

By Serge Bielanko |


It is, of course, one of the worst stories imaginable.

Waking up this morning in America, or anywhere really, and hearing this tale of a nanny in New York City murdering two young children left under her care, it transcends tragedy. It’s way way bigger than any version of sad that our speakable languages could possibly pin down.

The sound we hear, the deafening roar of impossibility landing like a helicopter in our living rooms and on top of our cars in traffic, it is the sound of our hearts being pummeled like a pinata; and it’s the sound of the bottom of the barrel being scraped by the devil himself.

Kids shouldn’t die.

They should be un-killable.

They should have force-fields around them that stray bullets and germs just bounce off of with a slight ping hardly loud enough to disrupt whatever song they’re singing at that moment, or whatever cartoon they’re staring at like 4pm zombies on a winter’s afternoon.

Drunk drivers should hurdle into a car with kids in it and just disappear, body/soul/vehicle, in a weak puff of sweet smoke, the imminent danger of their very existence canceled out by the fact that they are gone the way of cigar smoke in the swift moments before they can drive the damage home.

Kids should taste like old moldy onions to wild lions and sharks.

They should be able walk through fire as if it were nothing worse than a poison ivy bush.

Kids, all of ‘em, not just some of ‘em, they ought to fall out of high windows, out of airplanes even, and land on their little feet unscathed, uninterested, and hungry for a pudding snack cup.

But no.

Somehow when the galaxies were formed, whoever formed them/whatever formed them, and when all of ‘the rules of the road’ were being written in stardust and gas at a desk on a comet back behind some sun somewhere eons and light centuries from anything we could ever dream up, somehow, back then, kids were included in the big messes of their elders. They were allowed to be interrupted.

They were denied the superpowers they’ve deserved all along.

In the wake of atrocity it’s really hard to find the words. It’s downright impossible to connect any dots, to make any sense of any of it.

People will try.

That is, after all, the nature of people; we try. But no one will soothe anyone here for a long long time. They would if they could, but they simply cannot.

I sometimes have brief flashing visions of what it might feel like to suddenly be still alive beneath the planetary weight of something as bad as a child’s unjust fate, but I can’t get far along with that. It’s just too much.

I’m not wired for those kinds of jolts.

None of us are.

So, when they come, even when they come to slam their currents into the lives of strangers far far away from us, from our own children, we still somehow manage to feel the remote and distant fringes of their suffering. We still wish we could help them turn back the clock, help them change the way things turned out.

But, we can’t.

And that’s why we are so damn sad, once again.



You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.

And on Facebook and Twitter.

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More from Serge:

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Watching You Watching Me: Our Family Through The Eyes Of Our Pet Fish, Fishley

15 Reasons To Love Kids & Their Pumpkins

20 Ways The Internet Has Changed Parenting Forever

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About Serge Bielanko


Serge Bielanko

Serge Bielanko writes about fatherhood for Babble Dad and about marriage stuff for Babble Voices at He Said/She Said. His writing has appeared in Esquire and The Huffington Post, as well as on his personal blog, Thunder Pie. He lives with his wife and two kids in central Pennsylvania. Read bio and latest posts → Read Serge's latest posts →

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5 thoughts on “The Nanny Tragedy in New York City: Our Ultimate Sadness

  1. Tracey Gaughran-Perez says:

    Beautifully put, Serge. Thank you.

  2. hismrshermr says:

    This was so beautifully said and your words so true.

  3. lucy oglesby says:

    Serge, I don’t know you guys, I live in TX, but somehow found your blog and read it daily. You should submit this to MotherLode in the New York Times

    so touching and well written these words of yours are about this horrible incident that is still on everyone’s mind…

    1. sergebielanko says:

      Thanks a lot, Lucy.

  4. mama says:

    I second what Lucy said. What you said is so spot on about how at times your mind will ‘Sort of” wander down that road and you have to stop.. It’s just too painful.

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