Our governor has asked everyone in Massachusetts to be on a heightened state of alert in the wake of the bombing at the Boston Marathon yesterday.
I can do that. I’ve been in a heightened state of alert since I first learned that I was pregnant, nearly five years ago.
It has been said that every step we take is a prayer, and that fundamentally there are only two types of prayer: please and thank you. And so it has been since I became a mother: every doctor’s appointment, every milestone eliciting a prayer of gratitude for a positive pregnancy test, a healthy birth, a growing child, and also a plea–at times quiet, other times desperate–for another day, another year, another opportunity to be with my daughters, to watch them grow.
The bombings in Boston hit close to home for me, literally and figuratively. You can trace a direct line–a subway line–from my neighborhood train stop to the end of the race where the blasts occurred. My family and I weren’t there, and I am immensely grateful for that. My experience of this tragedy has been filtered through social media, through the shocked and terrified postings of friends who were running, cheering, and volunteering along the route. When the news broke that one of the victims was an 8-year-old child, one friend commented: “No. Please. No.”
A prayer. A mother’s prayer.
I saw a video of the bombing, and I heard a mother’s voice ring out amidst the chaos. “Stay together! Stay together!” she was yelling.
Another friend, a mother living in Israel, wrote the following on her page this morning: “Perverse thought of the day: Americans are spending Israel Independence Day feeling like Israelis often do in the aftermath of terror attacks.”
And so I have come to join the ranks of millions of mothers, across the globe, across the generations, who can now include terror to the list of things we worry about each day. I suppose it has been in the back of my mind since September 11th, but I wasn’t a mother yet. My heart was still my own back then. Now I send it out into the world each day, in the form of two little girls with blonde ponytails, kind hearts, and a deep faith in humanity that I struggle to hang onto myself.
I have read everything I can, in the newspaper, on Facebook, and Twitter. I have connected with friends and family to make sure they are safe. I have cried, I am still crying as I write these words, for those who died and were gravely injured, for those who witnessed the violence and will carry the sights, sounds, and smells of the that moment with them always.
I don’t feel brave. I don’t have any words of wisdom or inspiration to share. I have nothing left to do but pray.
Please. Thank you.
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