“There was a bad man running around Watertown but the police got him.”
My daughter’s words 2 years after the Boston Marathon Bombing.
At almost 3 years old when it happened, I never expected her to remember so keenly the feeling of being trapped inside on what was a beautiful sunny spring day. I never thought I would have to explain to my child that someone could hurt her, us, and so we had to stay indoors and let those charged with protecting us, do their jobs.
As a parent we want to shield our children from hurt, from fear, but sometimes that isn’t possible. We try to rationalize the inexplicable, assuage the hurt, and cocoon our babies from the harshest realities of a world that sometimes seems to delve into madness.
April 15, 2013 was such a day, when the lives of three beautiful souls were taken in an act of senseless terrorism, pitching my community into both fear, and profound togetherness. We all hovered over our children in the long days between the Boston Marathon bombing, and the eventual capture of the terrorist who fled into my town to hide. We stayed in our houses, we prayed, we waited.
And our children, seemingly frozen in time, remember. It has taught me that we cannot always protect them, but we can teach them to understand, help them to cope with the scary parts of life that they will, undoubtedly face. That spring day when we were told to stay inside, my daughter and a huge sign thanking the first responders, which we hung out a window. We talked about how the men and women from the local police and fire departments were out there protecting us, and would keep doing so until we were safe. We read extra books, and snuggled a little closer. We became a little more wary, a bit more fearful of crowds, of letting our children roam free.
We cannot, in good conscience, let fear rule us, for in doing so, we lose the very essence of what childhood should be about. We lose that innocence we want for our children. I know Boston refused to cave into the fear. We came together, we became Boston Strong.
And today, we stay Boston Strong.
May we always remember the words of the bombing’s youngest victim, Martin Richard, and teach our children: “No more hurting people. Peace.”
In memory of Krystle Campbell, Sean Collier, Lingzi Lu and Martin Richard.