I heard about the bombing in Boston yesterday afternoon via a text sent by my sister. I resisted the urge to turn on the television; it's become evident that my 4-year-old hears everything these days, and is profoundly affected by the things she doesn't quite understand, such as death.
And so, not knowing the full extent of what happened, I continued with my day; pulling the patio furniture out of the garage, entertaining Gemma and obsessing over whether my 3-month-old will ever take a bottle. It wasn't until 7:30 p.m., after putting both girls to bed, that I switched on the news. My heart grew heavy as I watched the coverage. It grew heavier, still, as I learned of the three people who died -- including one 8-year-old -- and the countless others injured. I wept, this morning, in hearing that the young boy, along with his mother and younger sister, had been watching his father race. I can't imagine the grief.
We spent one full year in Boston, four years ago, before moving to New York. It's hard to believe that much time has passed, it still feels so recent. And for that reason, this tragedy feels personal to me. I'm so familiar with the streets I see on the news; I spent hours walking those streets with my infant daughter, trying to encourage a nap (mostly unsuccessfully). Over our months in Boston we ate at the restaurants, attended Red Sox games and made friends.
We watched the marathon from the finish line.
In some ways, that year was one of our most glorious. We were young parents, in a tiny apartment on Tremont Street. We didn't have much money, but we enjoyed life, and we lived. Boston has an incredible small town feel, despite being so large. We grew to love the city, and were sad to leave. But, it was time to move on.
You might call it bittersweet.
Now, I'm a mother of two. It's a lot of work and a lot of worry. I'm constantly amazed at the success of my parents; they raised three children, somehow, and emerged relatively unscathed. Though today's world seems so different. Or perhaps not, as my mother reminds me. My parents only now speak of the things from which they sheltered us, my siblings and I. And I think about how my lens has changed, now that I have my own family.
In the hours after the tragedy, my Facebook and Twitter feeds fired up with a quote from Mr. Rogers: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" A familiar comfort for parents of a certain age. And I wonder if, during these times, I should look for solace in my children. In their faces, in the moment.
Yes, Mr. Rogers, I want to believe in humanity. I need to believe in humanity. Because I'm a parent. Because I'm raising two beautiful, incredible girls. Because I want them to be good. And, despite a need to be vigilant, I want them to believe in good.
Today I pray for Boston. I pray for those who have been hurt, physically and emotionally. I pray for the helpers.
And I pray for our children.