Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Bomb explodes in Boston a block away from my daughter

There is a lot to write about since this past week I was on vacation.  Let’s start with the bombs in Boston.  That Monday afternoon, I was paying for some food at the super market and had all the kids when Ali called.  She said Amanda just called her and she is Okay, but I will hear soon enough that two bombs exploded in the city.  She was walking towards to finishing line and then the bombs,,,she was safe, but was running away from the explosions with another friend from Simmons.  It was a terrorist act.  Being so far removed from Boston and trying to buffer the kids from what occurred was frustrating.  I wanted to drive up there and take her home. No child of mine should have to experience this.  Soon the rest of them found out what occurred as we turned from the Disney channel and watched the horrific news - a panic set in.   What was that red stuff?  Bella asked as the picture hovered over the sidewalk where blood was splattered, not sure I said, it could be fabric.  Yeah, she said there are a lot of flags there.  Listening to Amanda I could hear the shock in her quiet, shaken voice, that tried to sound controlled.  She repeated like a monk in a mantra, yeah….yeah…yeah after every response.  Evidence of post traumatic stress.  Violence changes life rapidly.  Earlier that day – Patriots day in Boston - she texted me, telling me she was on her way to see the Sox play.  I was happy for her, but she said she missed me.  The city of Boston and The Red Sox have a special place in our lives.   What a general statement without real resonance.  There is a charm Boston retains that appeals to our senses, the way history and dusty decades remain with a New England pride for generations.  Over the years, I brought Amanda to a couple of Sox games.  Once when she was a little girl we flew up there using discounted - standby tickets which someone from Delta lent to me.  For about thirty dollars we flew to Boston and back.  This was before 9/11…and caught a game on a warm autumn day.  Since we flew stand by, flying home was a bit of a challenge; we had to sit separately. It didn’t upset the curious and personable child who bid me farewell and told me she was fine, she sat back in her seat, feet dangling over the seat and struck up a conversation with the woman next to her as I sat alone and pondered how I was going to explain to Ali that our precious five year-old daughter sat next to a stranger on the flight home.  We survived.  After the bombing she was picked up from her dorm by Katie and Ben and brought back to Watertown - where they live - to get out of the city.  It helped, but she was still shaken and did not attend classes on Tuesday.  Simmons College gave the women the option of not attending.  On Wednesday she was back in class and feeling better.   Each day Amanda called Ali or I...yes sometimes I got the call...on the rare chance Ali was not available.  Funny how we always go back to our mothers when we encounter something horrible, but no mother can be prepared to console a child who witnessed two explosions.  Ali was in her element.  By Friday night, after being locked down on campus all day - Mo Cheeks and the rest of Boston and Watertown were dancing in the streets.  We survive through another day and grow stronger, but live with that uneasy feeling - and the unanswered question, why do this? Yesterday, I drove into Citi Field for the first time this season.  This was Bella’s first trip to Citi Field and since she is my baseball buddy as she tells me she is, I felt it was appropriate to ask her if she wanted to go.  Sure was all she responded with.  The other kids could care less about baseball.   Although it was a chilly day we made it to the stadium in about an hour, paid the $20 for parking and passed through security.  I wanted Bella to experience the rotunda at Citi Field, and pointed out the pictures of Jackie Robinson, one with them at a graduation procession and she was impressed with the link to history.  We went to the fan center where kids can play waffle ball and other games and then bought some pizza.  Standing while the national anthem played, with our hands on our hearts, we then took an escalator up to our section 307.  After an inning there it was due time for my sausage and peppers and down we went to find the vendor. I bought her some ice cream as well and we shared a Pepsi.  The wind was picking up, foolishly I wore shorts and we were in the shade.  It was freezing.  The seats will be perfect if it was raining, but it was cold and she didn’t want to move to the warm open seats in the sun light in case we were kicked out.  So we stayed and watched The Mets come back and then headed off to our car and drove to Queen’s museum.  I asked if she wanted to see the globe from the World’s fair and she did…after that I drove around the expressway and felt my steering wheel pull to the right, I thought some part or belt came lose or was damaged.  A van passed us and the passenger pointed to my front wheel, You Gotta Flat!  I changed it with the Manhattan skyline in the distance and gave Bella a lesson on changing tires.  It was the first time I changed a tire in years and felt lucky, it was not raining or bitter cold.  We were done and back on the road to home.   After a dinner at Friendly’s – it was her choice, we watched some videos on You Tube, decent music like The Clash and Cracker (her request) Fishbone, Problems Arise and I played Camper Van Beethoven, Take the Skinheads Bowling, which is now one of her favorite songs.  This morning we came downstairs, I gave her the medication and she played Take the Skinheads Bowling and sang along to it….Everyday I wake up and pray to Jah…  

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