There are many challenges that come with parenting, but today I have been most challenged by my overwhelming urge to weep (in response both to the week's tragic, chaotic events and stories of bravery and compassion, such as this incredible story of fortitude) and the need to maintain a sense of calm and stability for my daughters Laurel and Violet. It has been a day of dissonance on so many levels, most acutely punctuated by:
The joy of having slept through the night, followed by the panic that ensued once I learned about the current state of affairs in Boston (which came to light just as I was about to get dressed and head outside with Violet in the jogging stroller).
The comforting feeling of having Laurel and Violet safely snuggled up with me on the couch, coupled with the tightening I felt in my chest as I learned that the manhunt was escalating in the neighborhoods where my mom, several siblings, and in-laws reside. (A couple of my siblings had police right on their lawns; everyone, thankfully, is OK.)
The raw, bruised, chaotic swirl of emotions I felt inside, compared to the calm exterior I generated (or I'm pretty sure I generated) as I explained to Laurel why I was making so many phone calls so early in the morning. She had so many questions. Why couldn't we go rescue her grandmother? Why would someone want to hurt a police officer? What happened if the suspect came to our door? How does one deposit a bomb? So, so many more questions.
The moments of simplicity and everyday happy family life we experienced as we did puzzles, read books, played games and worked on craft projects was suddenly jarred by the circumstantial uncertainty of the power going out.
The beauty of social media: its ability to disseminate information and resources so quickly and the immediate manner in which it surrounded me with comfort and support, contrasted by the absurdity of tweets such as this.
The immense love and pride I feel for the state of Massachusetts. And the hatred that resides in the hearts of terrorists.
The knowledge that what I have been feeling -- the anxiety, the overwhelm, the sadness, the anger -- on this very surreal day is the daily existence of so many around the globe. I will never, ever take our definition of normalcy for granted. Especially on this day of dissonance.