While driving my son to school this morning, he didn't say much. He rarely does on such rides but this morning it seemed like he was extra quiet. I can only imagine what he was thinking about the bombs exploding at the Boston Marathon yesterday.
I didn't want to ask. He's got plenty on his mind with high school. No need to add more complication and worry to his life.
When tragedies as monumental as these happen, I think mostly about my children. In the hours and days after 9/11, my overriding thoughts were about how my three children would grow up in a world more dangerous, seemingly, than the one I did. While growing up I didn't have to worry much about terrorism. It may have been going on but there wasn't anything like 9/11 to shock my senses. Planes had not hit skyscrapers yet. My kids have to worry about this more than I did and they will have to the rest their lives. Terrorism will always be at least in the back of their minds and often at the forefront.
They don't deserve this fate. They deserve a more calm upbringing, childhoods filled with happy thoughts and devoid of serious concerns. They can't have that. They've been short-changed. They are unfortunate to have born when they were.
On the morning of 9/11 this same son was four years old. He was the first in our house to see the Twin Towers on fire. To get his mind off the horror, that evening I deliberately played blocks with him in the basement as we often did, stacking rectangular blocks on top of each other. We shut off the TV and those unforgettable images.
"Planes went into buildings," he said.
What he saw was on his mind. Thank God he was too young to grasp the magnitude of it all.
Now he's 15 and can understand much better what yesterday's event means: terrorism lurks and can strike at anytime, anywhere. He has to be wary of where he goes and what he does. What a burden on a child. They have so many other issues to sort through such as adolescence, studying to get high enough grades to get into a college, being liked by their friends. They don't need this. They don't deserve this. They don't want this.
When you bring a child into the world as a parent, you hope their entire lives are filled with constant bliss. You hope the same for yourself. But this isn't reality, as we all know. At times life is a mess, perplexing, disappointing, and joyless.
Yesterday in Boston, it was all that plus horrible. People's legs were lost. Who goes to a running event and expects to have their own legs severed? It's so far-fetched as to seem preposterous and unthinkable.
Think again. Leg shattering happened on a big scale. The bombers cut out the legs from underneath Americans. But we still stand, all of us, adults, runners, runners, everyone in this country. We stand.
I doubt whomever set off these bombs will be standing much longer.