Innocence

Monday is one of my normal days off from work; it is a day filled with taking my daughter to school, being with my son, picking my daughter back up, and then spending the afternoon together. Many holidays also fall on Mondays, and on these days, I am able to have a much more relaxed day with the two kids. My wife often has to work on Monday holidays, so the three of us take life at its own pace. Patriots Day, the excuse Boston has for shutting things down during the marathon, is one of these occasions. I decided not to even try to brave crowds anywhere including downtown and to just hang around the home area. In the morning, we took my daughter’s scooter and her old balance bike with seat lowered to my son’s level down to the tennis and basketball courts at the end of our street. My daughter has never been too confident on the scooter let alone the balance bike, and I thought the smooth surface might help her get back in the saddle from the winter’s hiatus. Sure enough, she was gliding around the basketball court and even learned how to use the back brake. My son mostly walked with the balance bike between his legs, but I did get a few glides in with his feet up on the rests while I held the bike. He really liked that. For a first time out, he was enjoying it. In the afternoon, we hopped across the street to the lawn in front of the school and played baseball and soccer as much as a four year-old and a two year-old can when they don’t have much exposure to either sport. Basically we had fun, and my daughter turns out to be a decent low ball hitter.

When we returned to the house, I got the kids a snack and water to hydrate, and then I checked FaceBook. There went my innocence for the day. My daughter asked what was wrong, and I told her there was an accident near my school. I let her know that people were doing everything they could to help. As the rest of the day unfolded, I heard from my friends and colleagues. So far as I write this on Monday night, I have not heard of anyone I know injured. Several friends were nearby. One, who I saw just one day ago, was at the finish line medical tent and provided emergency care. His is just one of the many stories I have read about people who did the right, courageous, and necessary things in the wake of this event.

I will be working one block from that location on Tuesday, if indeed school is on. When I lived in St. Louis, I felt safe from this type of thing. Boston seems to in the thick of it. I don’t necessarily fear for my family’s safety, but we are much more exposed to it here. As a child, I remember the nuclear war drills we had to do as if ducking under our desks would make any difference at all. It still gave us a feeling of being prepared. At my schools, as in all schools nationwide, we are practicing what to do if an armed intruder attacks. There is no preparation for what happened today; there is only response. I pray that the response is measured and thoughtful and backed by solid evidence. If not, we are handing a world to our children that is not only marred by acts of terror but also by irresponsible reactions that only inspire more violence.

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