I’m still recovering from Boston.
With my words (more specifically thoughts) appearing on these pages on a weekly basis, I work really hard not to be repetitive. This time however, it’s a bit different.
Last week’s ‘Reporters Notebook’ was literally written on the fly with much nervousness and trepidation. I worried readers might find me insensitive and a bit too focused on something which to many has little meaning. I mean I do understand that it is ‘just running’ and ‘just a race.’ To the running community however it became personal. Races are our safe haven. They are ‘events’ which our families celebrate and spend quality, memory-making time at. Now, that will be forever altered.
The morning following the Boston bombing I read these words, “If you’re trying to defeat the human spirit, runners are the wrong group to target!”
This simple sentence brought a huge smile to my very confused face.
The outpouring of support for Boston and the many affected from the running community was viral on my personal Facebook page. Almost immediately Monday afternoon runners began logging miles for those unable to finish. Mileage dedications began popping up on just about every running Facebook page I follow. Fundraising efforts were also alive and well and a few friends even offered up suggestions on how to discuss this with our children.
Yes, our children, the truest of the innocent in all of this.
I intentionally had not spoken of it to my children on Monday. I could hardly make sense of it myself, how could I possibly make sense of it to a five- and eight-year-old? My children wait at finish lines. They have a mommy who is absent at times because she’s ‘running a race.’
As I tucked in my eight-year-old that night, he requested I hum for him the lullaby I used to sing when he was little. Admittedly, it caught me very off guard and my eyes teared up. I thought of the many who were robbed of this luxury on that night and then … I wondered.
What had prompted such a request at such a timely moment?
Before beginning his lullaby, I spoke to him about Boston. He knew it was a race mommy had awakened excited about following. He knew my running buddies were there fulfilling their dreams. He knew it was a ‘big deal’ in my life, as well as many others.
I shared with him how some may speak of it the next day and he should not be worried. He of course wondered why someone would want to ‘bomb a finish line.’ I openly shared that I had no clue.
“Mommy, why would someone want to take someone’s dream?” he asked. It was a question I had personally struggled with all day. To hear it come from the mouth of an eight-year-old made it all the more painful.
The answer I was able to muster is perhaps extremely simplistic and far from earth-shattering, but in that moment it was (and is) what I truly believe.
“Buddy,” I said, “I really don’t know. Mommy’s mind just doesn’t work that way.”
I went on to explain to my son that he should never worry about mommy at a race. I will always be fine. If something ever did happen (even an injury) it would be doing something I love and that is a blessing.
I also shared that the world has its fair share of mean people. It’s no different than the bully on the playground who hurts someone through mean words, just because they can. But living in fear makes them winners and that’s just not who we are.
“We’re winners for showing up,” my son chimed in.
As I heard my words repeated to me, my heart became full and I was filled with pride. They do listen.
As I left his room, I could not help but wonder what the next day would hold. How strong can one be when you feel taken to your knees in such a simple way?
Not another word has been exchanged between my son and I in regards to Boston. Someday, I know we will speak of it again. Someday I know we will marvel over the facts, which will be eventually learned. Someday, I will share with him the stories of bravery, heroism and selflessness which came on the heels of the act of a coward.
Someday we will speak of a lesson I return to in my daily life … good does indeed rise from evil and we must never take a second for granted.