One of the things I love the most about Annabel is how curious she is. She always wants to know how things work, why things happened, etc. Tools like YouTube Kids have been fantastic in helping us find material that explains the things she’s curious about in a way that’s appropriate for her. One day she asked us why there had only been male Presidents, and that lead us into a discussion about important women in history. We found some great videos on YouTube Kids about historical women, and she spent a lot of time watching them and asking us for more information about the women that struck a chord with her.
The one historical figure that completely fascinated Annie was Anne Frank, “because her name is like mine and she was just a kid, like me.” We did some searching and gave her a lot of great kid-friendly resources to watch, but when she finished all of those she said, “Can I read her book?” Mike and I decided that she could, as long as one of us was there with her to answer questions and help her with the more difficult aspects. So every night for the last month, Annie has made her way through a few pages of the Diary of Anne Frank.
Last week, Annie said, “Mom, I have a question about Anne Frank. If they knew that they were going to need to hide, why didn’t they just leave, like run away?” I told her that her father, Otto, had actually tried to get his family into the United States, but they’d been denied entry. She expressed the same kind of horror I remember feeling when I’d first learned about the Frank family so many years ago. “That’s so mean! I wish I was alive then, I would have let Anne and all of her friends in, and then we could have played together.”
I wonder what Annabel’s children will one day ask her about today’s Anne Franks. I wonder if they’ll be just as horrified. I know I am. I see the faces of the mothers and fathers who are desperately trying to get their children to safety and I think, “If I hadn’t been lucky enough to be born in the US that would be me doing everything I could to save my babies.” I feel sick, and I feel ashamed.
If Annabel were to hear about current events (and oh, how I hope she doesn’t), I don’t know what I’ll tell her. I don’t know.