Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Serious Content Ahead...

I apologize in advance for the content of this post as being neither WoW-related nor upbeat. While I appreciate the diversion WoW provides, and the people I’ve met through it, it’s just that: A diversion. And lately, I have had other things heavily weighing on my mind that I don’t really have an outlet for so y’all are going to get to hear about it. So, if you were surfing da interwebs for WoW content, please, by all means, skip ahead to some of my other posts. I just need to say the following out loud, and it isn’t going to be all that fun for me, either.

*waits for people to wander off*

OK, for those of you who are left, I’m sure you’ve heard or seen by now that Caylee Anthony’s remains were positively ID’d on Friday. In fact, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you couldn’t have helped but hear about it. Now, I admit, I’ve been following this story pretty closely for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that I’m a dad with a 5 year-old daughter and a one-month old. I really wanted that little girl found alive for that reason alone, let me tell you. I can’t even begin to describe the kind of emotional response I believe I would have if something similar happened to either of my children. I probably wouldn’t be able to continue living, as a matter of fact.

Unfortunately, I’m also a realist at heart, and the plain old statistics were stacked against her being found alive almost immediately. I don’t remember the exact number, but I seem to remember that an abducted child’s chances of survival drop by orders of magnitude every day after they have been missing for over 72 hours, and Caylee had already been missing for 2 1/2 weeks when her mother (and I use that term loosely) reported her missing on July 16.

Here’s the kicker for my part of the story, however: I won a trip through work in May to go basically anywhere I wanted to and, because I’d always wanted to go there myself, I decided we should all go to Disneyworld for our last big trip as a three-person family before the new kid showed up. The dates I chose?

July 9th through the 13th.

I didn’t even think about the timing until all this started coming out in late July and early August. I didn’t really start thinking about the timing until last week. Basically, we were fiddling while Rome burned. While my daughter and I were having a blast on Pirates of the Caribbean, Caylee was either in the process of dying or already dead and tossed to the side of the road like so much garbage. While I will always cherish that trip and the time I got to spend with my daughter, particularly, I can’t help but think that the diametric opposite to our vacation was happening or had recently happened less than 20 miles from where we were staying. It’s haunting, to say the least.

And yet…

And yet I can’t help but wonder if…A lot of if. Hell, let’s just capitalize and bold IF, shall we?

IF Caylee was still alive while we were visiting, and IF someone other than her mother was responsible, what would be one of the best ways to keep a 2 year-old sedate and happy, or maybe live out some twisted father/mother-daughter fantasy world, before ending her life? The Magic Kingdom is right down the road and day passes are cheap, after all…


IF Caylee’s erstwhile mother wanted to have one last set of memories with her daughter, and IF she chose to use the discount she would have gotten from being a Universal Studios employee at the time (I believe, anyway), where would be the logical place to do so?


IF Caylee’s grandparents actually performed this horrific act and IF they were feeling nostalgic for their granddaughter before the fact…well…see above.

We could play the IF game all day long, and believe me, I have, to the point of losing sleep. Last night, I went through all my pictures of that trip to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom…I even looked at the blurry ones we didn’t save for the albums. I zoomed in on the digital pics, looking in the background, off to the side, with the other kids my daughter was playing with outside of Ariel’s Grotto™, desperately hoping and dreading I would see that face that most of us parents now have burned into our memories forever, and see the person or persons that could be responsible for what happened to her somewhere, as well.

OK, so perhaps I have taken the IF game too far. As I said, I’m a realist. More than likely, she had already been killed two weeks before our plane left the ground and her mother was busy preparing her alibi. Or her grandparents were. Or whatever.

But it still gnaws at me.

It rankles because we were in Orlando at roughly the same time everything went down. It’s bothersome that something that horrifying was going on while we were having so much fun as a family. Most of all, I simply can’t fathom why.

Look, I don’t jump to conclusions, especially where things like this are concerned. I’m a firm believer in “innocent until proved.” But the circumstantial evidence against Casey Anthony, plus her evasions and textbook sociopathic and/or bipolar behavior, lead me to only question if she is either guilty as sin or guilty as Hell. That being the case, I am left with a turmoil of questions, but the biggest one is always “why?”

I admit freely that my oldest daughter and I have had our share of rough days. There have even been times when I wondered to myself, “Hmmm…how many epics could I trade her for on the AH?” after we’ve spent the entire evening screaming at one another. I mean, seriously, what parent doesn’t have those thoughts once in awhile? Raising kids is a rough, unpaid, inglorious job that most parents screw up more than get right, and that includes me. It just comes with the territory. Understand that you will cause your child to have to go through at least a year of therapy to deal with your fuckups now, preferably before you have kids, and things will go much more smoothly.

But I will say this: Never, not once in the 5 years my daughter has been on this Earth, have I even given consideration, nor has it even crossed my mind, that my life would be better off without her in it. That thought is hateful and difficult to even write down. I love my children. I love them more than my life. I can’t think of any parent off the top of my head who I know that doesn’t feel the same way.

So it is appallingly alien to me how something like this could even be considered as a viable option, let alone be planned and executed with such methodical precision as she showed in destroying another human being; another human being that, if her ex-fiancĂ© and parents are to be believed, she loved as fiercely at one point as I do my own kids. Why? What changed? How did this suddenly seem to be the better option to leaving your child alive to enjoy her life, grow up, have her own kids, grow old? I just don’t understand.

I wish I could go back to that first week of July, I really do. Not just because I had such a great time with my wife and daughter, although that’s the selfishness in me. But also because, IF by some minor miracle that little girl had still been alive, I would have offered to take her in rather than have what was done to her be done. In fact, I feel sick that I wasn’t there to offer; like I should have preternaturally known of the distress that little girl was going through and flew in like Mighty Mouse to save the day. I know that’s ridiculous, but there it is.

I am firmly of the opinion that life is always the better option, no matter how grimy, dingy, disorderly, and messy it might be. And the life of a 2 year-old little girl, especially, deserves to be a happy one, and not viciously terminated before she has the opportunity to discover what an amazing gift life really is. Casey Anthony didn't just kill her daughter; she stole the future from her.

OK, that’s my piece. I promise never to post on this subject again, and I apologize if I got a little preachy and emotional at the end. I think I’ll take a day or two off from posting, as well, but I’ll be back with more regular content at a later date. Feel free to reply or flame as you will…

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