Now that I’ve got kid #2 in the mix, I don’t have the same kind of time or energy to make those intentional decisions. My parenting is based on what’s fastest, easiest, or most convenient. Which is why, instead of reading my son a long, but lovely, book about The Bedtime Sh’ma, I’ve been reading him a shorter Sandra Boynton book. And instead of singing him my favorite Hashkivenu prayer as a lullaby, I’ve opted for a quick verse of a Laurie Berkner song and calling it a day. The whole shebang takes about three minutes and then I can finish cleaning up the kitchen, giving my daughter a bath, or eating dinner myself.
But last night, all that changed. You see, I’m from Boston. Though I’ve lived in New York for almost 11 years now, Boston is my true north. I’m an unabashed Red Sox fan, I love that dirty water, and every year on Patriots’ Day, I went to watch the Boston Marathon. I love standing on Beacon Street in Brookline, cheering for the runners, marveling at the fact that they could run 26.2 miles. My daughter hasn’t yet turned 4 and already she’s been to the marathon twice.
The bombings yesterday are horrifying for so many reasons. My heart feels broken into pieces. I wish I could do something, to be there to help. My Facebook feed was littered with Boston friends writing, “We’re okay,” and others posting the quotation from Mr. Rogers that basically says in the face of tragedy, there are always helpers–look for the helpers.
The thing is, right now I can’t be a helper (besides with a monetary donation to some organization, which I will do once I figure out where best to send it). All I can do is be, and try to make sense of the senseless. To breathe into tragedy and figure out how to cope. I do it by going back to the prayers and songs that always sustain me–so last night, my son got to read that longer Sh’ma book. He got to hear that longer lullaby. And I think that’s going to be our new tradition. Because being a second child shouldn’t mean that he always gets second best. He too deserves a prayer for safety, love, and peace.
May God spread over all of us, all of Boston, all of Israel, and all the world, a shelter of peace. Amen.