I couldn’t bear to be sitting at my computer yesterday, endlessly refreshing news sites. I went out for a run — in the rain, and in silence — and felt marginally better. I played with the kids, we ate dinner as a family, and August, feverish and miserable, slept in our bed, kicking me and Brandon all night.

This morning, the kids and I arranged our longest train track yet, and we built a forest of Playmobil trees. The forest needs a gingerbread house, according to Eleanor. I tried to recount the story of Hansel and Gretel to E a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t remember all of the details. Brandon jumped in, filling in some of my gaps, but then I remembered our old book of fairy tales (my mother’s book, given to her by her parents on her second birthday). I found it and read the story to Eleanor, verbatim, not remembering how grim(m) it was. We read it once and she has been referencing it since.


From witches and terrible stepmothers to worse, much worse, it sometimes feels like the world is filled with too much evil. There is so much goodness out there though, too. Far more goodness. For that, and for quotidian family moments, I’m grateful.

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  • writesandrights
    April 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I really appreciate it when design bloggers are willing to step away from the ornamentals and aesthetics of life to talk about the grit and the grim. I love design because it brings beauty to a world that is indeed hard and painful and evil. Sometimes life isn’t so lovely, and I’m thankful that you’re not willing to pretend otherwise. It makes you and your blog feel more grounded to us readers, or at least to me. So thank you. I really needed to read this today.

  • Laura
    April 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I, too, appreciate your honesty and depth of expression. Thank you.

  • CT
    April 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I agree, those old school fairy tales are really rough! Thanks for a sweet and thoughtful post. Cheers – CT

  • Christiana
    April 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Yesterday was rough. :(

  • Anne
    April 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I hear you on needing a break from refreshing the news sites. It is heartbreaking. But it is strangely comforting to know that others out there are feeling just as frustrated and sad as I am.

    And yes, those old fairy tales are pretty dark. I recently took a ’50s book called “The Biggest Bear” out of the library, having been charmed by the beautiful illustration on the cover. I had no idea how dark it was until I started reading it. The words were already out of my mouth when I realized I was telling my kids that the star of the book, a little boy, was going to shoot and kill his pet bear. Yikes! They asked a lot of questions about that, of course, so our quick little book-reading session turned into a meandering history lesson on culture and nature and guns and other things I hadn’t expected to talk about that day!

  • mich
    April 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I’m so glad that so many people are so focused on the victims and the heroes of yesterday. I have heard very little talk of the need to punish. I think that our society is gaining a new kind of strength, it might be a little weary, a little dirt-covered – but I think that we are becoming less prone to rage and further fueling violence with hatred and fear.

  • Marla
    April 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    From Slate: In the wake of yesterday’s Boston Marathon bombings, many took to social media to comment on the tragedy. One of the sentiments repeated again and again came from Mister Rogers.

    “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

  • Holly
    April 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Many of the old Grimm’s Fairy Tales (and HC Anderson’s as well) are grim.

    But there are some other wonderful fairy tales out there. One of my favorites is Petronella.

    Hope your mood has improved today. This has been a difficult week in Boston, but we are trying to look for the sunshine.

  • Kathleen
    April 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers.,

    The biggest thing besides thoughts and prayers that victims will need is money to pay for all the medical expense relating to their injuries. The Mayor of Boston and Governor of Massachusetts have set up a charity where all the money will be going directly to victims.

    Also you can check out the blog post I wrote on how you can help.

  • MelD
    April 19, 2013 at 2:01 am

    Fairy tales can be very good for children, if the right ones are told at the right time, even the grim(m) ones! Certainly in German, there is a whole area of pedagogical research about “how” to tell fairy stories, so it might be worth looking into that in English, too.
    Personally, I also think these are important culturally – how sad if future generations don’t know them because everything got too sanitised…