Dealing with Tragedy
At nearly the exact moment of the bombings in Boston, my husband was taking off in an airplane on a non-stop flight headed from San Francisco to Boston. I was home with four kids, dealing with science fair projects and home appraisals, dishes and dinner, and everything else that comes with raising four kids. How was I going to tell them about the horrible things that happened, while reassuring them that their father was fine (even as I hoped and prayed that he would be)? I’m terrible at talking about these things with the kids as it is; I always wish I could somehow shield them from the world. But soon enough, the questions came and I had to find a way to talk to them about it. I gathered them around, and answered their questions (some of which were surprising – like, “Was it Al Qaeda?”, “Why do people hate America?”, and “How does a bomb even work? It looked like a small explosion, but how could it hurt so many people?” – he’s got the mind of a scientist, that one). I did the best I could at fielding questions and instilling them with the appropriate amounts of solitude and reassurance. I wish I had read this post first, and I wish I had seen the Mr. Rogers quote first. I will definitely be using that one in the future; as much as I hate to admit it, we all know there will be a future tragedy to deal with. But next time I’m going to tell my kids to look for the helpers. Next time I’m going to tell them that maybe some day they might be in a situation where they can be a helper too. For now, my heart mourns for those who were affected. On a more selfish note, I’m also very grateful that my husband was not there yet (his hotel is a block from where it happened). And I’m glad that we changed our plans (originally we had considered that I would accompany him with our baby and 10 year old who is studying the American Revolution in school).