My home, my Boston

I’ve had one hell of week. It’s been eventful healthwise and in terms of insurance stuff. There’s been stuff happening with family and with friends. And so writing just didn’t happen, even though I thought of it often and really wanted to. But things had calmed down today, and inspiration struck this morning, so I was excited to write. And then the bombs exploded. I was not there, but I still feel shaken. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, try reading this: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-boston-marathon-explosion-20130415,0,641755.story

I have made a point of not writing about these kinds of tragic events. For that matter, I haven’t been writing about holidays or other big happenings, either. But this is different. This feels personal. And it’s my blog, so I get to write about whatever I want, right?

When I was a kid, I didn’t realize how big a deal the Boston Marathon was. I mean, I knew it was big in our little world, but I didn’t understand the world-wide reach. As an adult, I feel privileged to have watched the marathon so many times, to have supported so many runners. I’ve handed out food and drinks, I’ve cheered, and I’ve encouraged friends who ran. It was always a fun day.

I didn’t go to the marathon today. I was thinking this morning how odd it was that I didn’t know anyone running this year. And there was some health stuff. Instead, I decided to spend the day with my mom. Today’s a state holiday, so some people have the day off work and some don’t. She did. We went shopping and then went back to her house. It was a really nice day to spend together, and we were both feeling happy, despite our respective health issues.

There are some things we don’t forget. I won’t forget where I was when the Challenger exploded. I won’t forget where I was when I heard about the first place hitting the World Trade Center tower on 9/11, or how I felt when I heard about the second plane a few minutes later. And I won’t forget happily chatting with my mom this afternoon, then answering her phone (because I was closer to it) and hearing my aunt (who lives in another state) asking if we were all ok. I had no idea what she was talking about, but she filled me in fast. And it all changed.

Suddenly, we were all glued to the tv. Now, hours later, it still feels like a bad dream and I’m waiting to wake up. In those first moments, we were just stunned. I started texting everyone I could think of who might be there. And then I texted and called others who I knew wouldn’t be there, but who might have loved ones there and who weren’t likely to have heard the news. Then I checked FB and the early posts were there. It was just the beginning of a flood, though. Twitter was starting to post about it, too.

I am fiercely protective of the people I love. I’m the mama bear protecting her cubs. Don’t you dare hurt someone I love! Last week a friend was getting hurt. I stuck my nose in where it was none of my business and he understood why: my instinct is to protect. It always has been and I hope it always will be. It’s how I felt today. This is my city, my home. I’ve lived here most of my life, and in the few years that I lived elsewhere, I still thought of Boston as my home. And how dare someone do this to us!!!

We all lost something today. We lost some of our feeling of safety. It’s a scary world. I know that. In fact, the tv show Glee had an episode last week about a school shooting. While the students and teachers on the screen hid, I thought about how quickly the world has changed. When I was in high school, it never occurred to us to be scared of a shooting. Sure, some schools in some neighborhoods were dangerous. But aside from that, it was all safe. There were no lockdowns. Our classroom doors didn’t even lock from the inside in those days. But in a few short years, that’s all changed. And in a few short years, so has the Boston Marathon. When I was a kid, it never occurred to me that anything bad would happen when I watched the marathon. My biggest problems were not having enough snacks, or not being able to find a bathroom when I needed one. And now it’s all different. Now I won’t feel the same about it. None of us will. Just like I won’t feel the same way when I walk down Boylston Street, a street I’ve walked down countless times before. I’m due to be there in a few weeks and I just can’t imagine how it will feel to walk past this place that used to feel so safe.

But somehow we’ll all manage. We’ll all move on. We’ll support those who were hurt and who lost loved ones. Because despite it all, this is a strong town and we care about each other. That’s why it has always felt like my home. And it’s why I want so desperately to protect it.

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