About a year later…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Boston Marathon bombing lately because it’s almost been a year. For those new to the blog, I was a block away from the explosions last year with my then eight-week-old baby.

Tragically, last night, two Boston Firefighters were lost in duty and their incredible bravery hits home once again. It feels like punch in the gut, a personal loss. It reminds me of last year.

This is the first trauma I’ve ever dealt with, and it poses challenges I couldn’t have predicted. The panic feelings when I hear a story on the radio, or walk past the sight, for example. Also, my complete inability to access empathy for the suspect in custody – it’s not like me, but it’s real. I reach for that empathy like I’m reaching for my wallet, but all I find is an empty pocket. Experiencing true fear does unexpected things.

But even in those moments, I appreciate the distance. I appreciate the year of healing that our city has undergone.

Boston, the way I see it, is just like a spunky, loud-mouthed five year old boy on the playground*. He talks bigger than he can act, but it makes him kind of  lovable. Last April, he got the crap beat out of him and ran to his mom’s arms. As he sobbed into her shoulder she whispers, “Hey. Hey – what are we?”

“Strong,” he whimpers between hysterical gasps.

“What are we?” she asks again, his chin in her hands.


We weren’t. We were scared, hurt kids, but we started saying “strong”.  It made me feel better. It helped me to heal – to some degree. And whether I like it or not, that day pulled a strong string around my heart and wove it into the fabric of this city.

My thoughts today are with the Firefighters and their families. We owe a lot to the people who keep us safe and put their necks on the line for their fellow citizens. Boston, it turns out, is a pretty small town.




*OK, so if I’m characterizing cities I’ll make New York a 12-year-old girl who just got back from a summer abroad and owns like 17 scarves all the sudden and keeps taking photos and whining about trans-fats.


Mom’s broken, baby’s a Gryffindor.

A short list of times I’ve felt broken in the past three days:

  • Looking online at baby clothes, I cry
  • Hearing a snippet of Mr. Rogers on NPR fund drive,  I cry
  • Watching Pharrell perform “Happy” on the Oscars, I cry
  • Being out with friends, seeing a missed call from the babysitter, trying not to cry because I’d like to at least give the impression that I am a functioning adult
  • Watching the little bean nap, I cry
  • Thinking about watching her nap as I type this list….you get the point.

I’ve been trying to figure out these emotional surges and intensities. This child makes me so happy, why am I always trying not to cry? Why is it so hard to bear? I think I figured out the answer and it’s way simpler than I could have imagined. Love. Duh.

Being this girl’s mother is like being hit by a monster truck of love, and it’s nonstop. It’s terrifying. How can one little person be in charge of so much emotion? But she is. As she’s growing up, her personality is really starting to shine and I CAN’T DEAL WITH IT. Yesterday she walked through Barnes and Noble with me, holding a pink gardening shovel and pretending to dig holes in the carpet. When she sees her Dinosaur book, she roars. She had more fun wielding a straw as a magic wand during breakfast yesterday than I thought was humanly possible.

accio first pancake

Totes a Gryffindor.

My heart hurts. OUCH ALL THE TIME.

And that’s just the happy. There’s also the teething, tears, and head bumps that send her screaming. We’re feeling all of it together.

I’m over-empathetic by nature, and seeing the world through her eyes is a wild, wild ride for this mom. So, I feel kind of broken because the way I “work” is no more. The old systems have been made obsolete, and I’m living in little bean’s world.

When I got that missed call the other night I was at a loud bowling ally with a bunch of people. One of my friends asked if I was OK and I just responded, “Yeah. Motherhood has broken me.” It sounded dour, but this is what I meant. It’s broken, for sure, but in a good way.