My three-year-old daughter was home Tuesday, sick, watching the Inaugural with my wife. It struck me that at her age, 40 years beforehand, I too had been before a TV with my parents, watching a momentous event: Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon. I marvelled at the resonance, and the fact that as I grew up in world when men had set foot on another celestial body, she would grow up in a world where it would be possible for her to be President someday, now that the barrier to that office has been shattered.
Of course, as much as my daughter delights me and makes me humble, she also upsets me and often does things I wish she wouldn't. Of late, she has kept me up at night, and interrupted my sleep, which I do not seem to get enough of. I have been curt and cross with her lately, despite my best intentions as her father. But as angry as I sometimes get, when she behaves badly, it never occurs to me that my life would be anything but worse without her.
So, reading today about the current evidence in the Caylee Anthony murder investigation, I was stunned. Admittedly, I find the thought that someone murdered this beautiful young child abhorrent, but the new information just released to the public leads me to believe the murder was the act of a psychotic mind. To hear that the poor girl had been gagged with duct tape, and then her captor had apparently placed a heart-shaped sticker on the gag, was mind-wrenching. It is one thing to murder an innocent child, quite another to do it so calculated a fashion.
Caylee's poor life was snuffed out, not in some random act of violence, which is all too common, but in an act of premeditated and selfish destruction. It takes a complete self-absorption and cold resolve to so callously kill a child.
I do not know if Caylee's mother did this or not. If she didn't, I'm sorry for what she went through. If she did, I can only hope that she is consumed in the fiery pits of an other-worldly hell. To kill a child is bad enough, but to kill your child is a sin from which there can be no redemption.
And so I will cry for Caylee, as we all must, we who value the precious life of children. Tonight I will go home, pick my daughter up, hold her very tightly, and tell her how much I love her. I will revel in that feeling. I will try to let it seep through my skin. I will never forget it. And inside, in a small corner of my heart, I will share that feeling with a poor girl who will never know it again.