Living Like It Didn’t Happen


“Oh, my God!”  I gasped.

“What, Momma?”

Without thinking, I quickly responded.  “Someone bombed the Boston Marathon!”

I looked up from my phone to eyes filled with fear, questions and concern.  My heart sunk.  “Shit.” I said under my breath.  I did it.  I broke all of my rules.  With all the tragedy of late, my husband and I decided to protect our son from it.  We didn’t talk to him about the shooting at the school in Connecticut or the shooting at the school in Colorado and I didn’t mean for him to know about this either.  My goal has always been to protect his innocence at all costs, let him be a child.  Kids grow up way too fast these days.  They’re exposed to so many things that never even existed when I was his age.  And now I did it.  I scared him and stole some of his innocence along with it.

“Our marathon, Momma?  Do we still get to have our marathon?”  At 8, he occasionally still calls me Momma.  A reminder of his innocence and that he is still my little boy even though he tries so hard to be grown-up at times.

“I’m sorry, honey, yes.  It’s fine, it’s not here.  Our marathon is fine.”  Quite honestly, I had no idea what marathon he was referring to, I think the Twin Cities Marathon, but in order to pull out of the conversation as quickly as possible and un-do what I’d done, I diverted.

I found out about the bombing in Boston as I popped onto Facebook from my phone to respond to a friend’s message about something entirely different.  The TV wasn’t on, the radio wasn’t on.  I was caught off guard and I reacted.  I was horrified, as much as the rest of the country was.

After trying to repair the damage I’d done, and return our afternoon to homework and snack, I immediately texted my friend from Boston to make sure she and her family were okay.  Thankfully, she responded with, yes.  She’s on a trip in New York and her family is fine.  Relief.

I went through  the list of friends and family who have become runners, trying to recall whether any of them were going to run the Boston Marathon.  I couldn’t think of any. Again, relief.

The rest of the day I avoided turning on the TV.  I knew the bombing would have full coverage on every channel.  Thankfully, we’re not a big TV household so that wasn’t too much of a challenge, but I didn’t want to take any chances so the TV was off-limits.

After my son was in bed, we turned on the news.  The footage, the pictures, the stories of the newest national tragedy filled the screen and my heart ached.  With an 8-year-old son of my own tucked safely in bed, it was hard not to imagine being in the shoes of the family who just lost theirs.  I would be devastated.

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the whole event.  It’s so senseless.  Why?  Why there?  A marathon of all places.  I don’t get it.  They say they will figure it out.  They will find out who did it and why.  But does it matter?  We can’t go back.  We can’t un-do what was done like I can try to un-do the fear and confusion I put in my child’s mind.

I won’t speak of this with my son again, unless of course he remembers what I said and has questions or hears about it in school and has questions, but hopefully neither will happen.  When he is around we will be living like it didn’t happen, trying to protect his innocence just a little bit longer.

But my heart goes out to Boston where people, like my friend, cannot live like it didn’t happen because it touches her life directly and she has to try to explain to her children something that is inexplicable.

So, please take a moment, if you haven’t already, to stop and pray or meditate or just think about the people effected by this sad event.  They need our love.


10 Comments to “Living Like It Didn’t Happen”

  1. A well written piece here, that expresses your protectiveness, dumbfoundedness, incredibility and anger. When the Twin Towers bombing happened, my niece and nephew were in preschool, and I didn’t know what if anything to say to them on the way to school. I ended up saying nothing, but once they returned from school, of course they’d heard, and we talked about it then. It’s a hard thing knowing when and what to say to kids about the sad things in life. Writer’s Mark


  2. My kids are 12 and 15 and I still struggle with how much to tell them. But as they get older, keep in mind they will hear about stuff from school. We live in CT and both my kids knew about the Newtown shooting before they even got out of school. By the next day, they both discovered they each had friends who knew kids who were killed. The day your child reaches the realization that if their friend’s cousin can die, so could their cousin is a day you as a parent will want to erase from their memory. But you can’t. And maybe you shouldn’t. I don’t really know.

    In the end, just love them and help them feel safe using whatever words are best for you and your family. It’s a tough world and we parents have to walk a fine line between protecting the innocence of our children and teaching them ways to survive and cope if the unthinkable happens around them.


  3. Thanks for sharing your perspective. If only we could all be as innocent as your kiddo…


  4. That’s such a tough call. I was home holding my first daughter on 9/11 hoping she’d never have to see anything like that.


  5. I did not have children to protect just my own mind and soul, I chose to turn off the news too, sometimes wallowing in it really doesn’t do anyone any good. There wasn’t any information and I chose to check in on the internet from time to time to see if there was any real updates. Sad,emotional stories don’t really do any good. We know it is a tragedy, we know those there helped and we know those trained to track down the perpetrators will work on it. No need to hear all the speculation and dwell on it and all the ‘what ifs’. I think the ‘News’ people just tend to keep the story going to keep themselves on the air.


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