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We don’t get practice time, and then go out and live our lives after we’ve perfected ourselves. We go out and try things, see if they work, we fall down, we get up, we embarrass ourselves, we don’t die of embarrassment – but we don’t get to practice life without an audience. And that audience usually has an opinion. It doesn’t matter.

A new day, with a new set of challenges, including the challenge of wrapping my head around yet another wave of violence. But that fresh start is also an opportunity for a fresh perspective, for evolving the way I look at the situation, and the world.

The first night I met him, he glared at me then leaned back a ways before slamming his head down on to the table. That thud of skull connecting with wood was so hard it made the walls shake and the windows rattle. I choked a bit on my heart, and my stomach churned with that nauseous fear that comes when everything is wrong. Very, very wrong. What were we doing with this kid in our home?

I was crossing through an intersection in holiday rush hour traffic, in the rain of course (this is Seattle), when the truck to my right swooped in front of me, cutting me off, and then stopping short with his butt hanging in the crosswalk –…