My firstborn is due any day now. A daughter. The biggest and best dream I've had my whole life is finally coming true.
I've spent the majority of the last few months making sure everything is ready and perfect for her. Her nursery just so, her clothing and blankets washed in the most delicate and eco-friendly way, her products and toys top of the line, free from chemicals and completely wiped down, her gear of the safest possible standards and codes, her medicine cabinet stocked. I've logged dozens of hours at parenting and CPR classes. Everything she'll ever need to be comfortable, safe, protected and loved has been thought of, handled and is here waiting for her.
But what about the world around her?
What happened in Boston yesterday is devastating and a further reminder that no matter how protective we are in our homes, no matter how much love we give, the same cannot be said for once we step foot outside our doors.
My family and I just relocated back to NYC, arguably making us even more of a target now than we were in our previous home of LA. But we know from the Aurora's, Newtown's and Tucson's that no one is truly safe, that it can happen anywhere.
My first reaction in these situations is to cry. Cry for the lives taken, those irreparably injured, their families, our people. Cry for our children and their uncertain, potentially volatile future. Since I'm 9 and ½ months pregnant, this time, there were more tears than usual. But it wasn't just the hormones. It was the thought of bringing my little girl into this, often times, scary, scary world. When we can't do simple, every day, otherwise joyous acts like watch a marathon, go to school, the supermarket or the movies, what is sacred?
Almost instantly, however, my thoughts changed from ones of fear to those of pride. I'm always amazed that immediately following the worst of humanity, we witness the best. Within the same breath, without skipping a beat, ordinary people become superhuman. There is something within us that, when disaster happens, when it really matters, when our neighbor is in trouble, our city in peril, we run towards the flame. We drop our airs, affiliations, priorities, to-do lists, forgo our own fears and put ourselves in the line of fire for others, complete strangers, someone else's daughter, brother, wife, mother. Unaware of what lies ahead, that another bomb or shot may lie in wait, defiant to the uncertainty, concern for others overpowers any other sense or inkling. It's a beautiful thing. I witnessed it firsthand on 9/11 and I saw it again yesterday in Boston.
That selflessness, bravery and overwhelming compassion makes me proud to call myself an American, even prouder to raise my daughter as one. We will always prevail over the evil, vengeful, hateful and cowardly when we band together. As long as we're thinking of others before ourselves, as long as our impulse is to double back instead of lurch forward, terrorists will never win. In their attempts to take us down, harm, hurt and break us, they only make us stronger, wiser, more unified. While it might be a senseless world at times, it's an overall resilient, hopeful, positive place and our people are what make it so.
I can't wait to teach her about the beauty of humanity, instill in her a fearlessness that is inherent in all of us and get her involved at a very early age with helping others. I look forward to telling her about all the people who willingly choose a profession in which every day they put their lives in danger for the benefit, peace of mind and safety of others. And those that don't but for one day, one moment follow suit and, in the heart of tragedy, sacrifice their lives for the sake of strangers.
And, eventually, when she's old enough, I'll tell her about that dreaded day in Boston. But my focus won't be on the terrorists -- it'll be on the citizens, runners, emergency workers, and bystanders -- all everyday heroes, who made (and make) Boston an amazing place to call home.