Last July, we traveled through Europe with our teens, eagerly anticipating our tour of Nice, France. My husband and I were passionate about this stop on our trip as we had spent a wonderful vacation there 25 years prior and felt our kids were mature enough to appreciate the city’s mix of old world charm and modern sophistication.
Despite the scorching heat, my kids soaked in the local culture, cuisine, and architecture. Walking through the Marche Aux Fleurs, Nice’s famous flower market, we were mesmerized by the collections of Gerbera daisies and roses, racks of garlic, and endless varieties of heirloom tomatoes, peaches, cherries, and strawberries. We stopped at the salt stall, hypnotized by the pink, yellow, cream, peach, and green salts, which seemed to match the pastels of the old buildings.
We continued wandering through the narrow alleys turning onto the famous Promenade des Anglais, which borders the glistening Mediterranean. The sun casts a unique and majestic glow on the water here and it always catches my breath. My only concern that morning was my teens’ reactions when they inevitably spotted the topless bathers.
The possibility of a terror attack in this remote, serene, and glamorous corner of the world was the farthest thing from my mind. I’m sure it was the farthest thing from anyone’s mind as they celebrated Bastille Day yesterday and watched fireworks with their families and friends.
The pictures and videos hit close to home. We were there. It could’ve been us. I felt the same when learning of the Paris terror attacks and every single time Israel suffers another attack. We were there. It could’ve been us. This war is being waged on all of us. I don’t want to stop living my life and I don’t want my fear to influence the way I parent. Do I tell my son not to go on his Birthright trip? Do I cancel my daughter’s plans to visit Israel next summer? Do I cancel our plans to visit Europe? Nowhere is safe.
I want to make sense of this for my kids who are not only old enough to understand and have opinions of their own, but were there. Right there on that promenade almost exactly a year ago. We reminisce about silly things: a sign hanging in the public toilets along the promenade, “Do pull the flush, please.” It seems impossible that Nice is the scene of all this monstrous carnage. I want to caution my children to live their lives but be careful. But how can they be careful of totally unpredictable horror?
As I try to make sense (there is no sense) of yet another terrible tragedy, I pray that this time—maybe this time—will be the last. Maybe this time world leaders will come together and somehow, miraculously eradicate terror once and for all. But I know that I’m dreaming, and that nothing—nothing—will help me fall asleep tonight.