Yesterday I was feeling like a bad parent for not making an effort to take the boys to go see the marathon. I honestly did not plan for it because I thought they would either be bored after a mere few minutes of seeing runners pass by, would want to run themselves, or they would get lost in the shuffle with the many, many people who go out and rally for the athletes tearing down the streets in their running gear.
This feeling of being a bad parent came as Patriots’ Day approached and then later, as I saw numerous updates on Facebook about people I knew who were running that day. Then came the pictures of parents, mostly new ones, with infants strapped to their chests as they stood next to mile markers.
I decided not to care that much about missing out, but to instead focus on the large trucks outside our windows, cutting tree branches and providing some silence from the boys who watched in amazement as hard hat workers removed logs and logs and piled them into a massive dump truck.
We spent hours at a nearby farm outside, playing at the playground, feeding animals, breaking for snack, digging in their sandpit. The fresh air exhausted all of us, so after lunch they crashed and, who am I kidding, so did I. Upon waking up and realizing that the boys were still asleep, I checked my phone–Facebook first–which seems to, sadly, be the automatic way, and I then started wondering what I missed during my slumber.
A reference to how one felt during 9/11. People saying they were safe. People who do not live far from me saying that they were okay. And then I figured it out. I learned brief details before my older son awoke and I had to carry on until I could steal some more time to understand.
Except I still don’t. The only thing I do get is that we were lucky. Lucky to have chosen other plans for yesterday. Lucky to have missed out on something I was originally sad to not have incorporated into our plans. And as the boys watched a cartoon, oblivious to what the world was watching both in real time, in person, and on the news, I looked at my five-month pregnant belly and wondered how I was going to continue to keep my two boys, and now a new baby safe, and remain lucky again and again. Where do we turn to avoid catastrophe and terror? I can tell you it’s not at school or even at an event like a marathon. It’s not necessarily on a walk, in a backyard, or at work.
Where are we truly safe?