Photo Credit: DON EMMERT/Staff/AFP/Getty Images
Since December 14 -- that ugly, awful day that changed my town and my family forever -- I have watched as my brave, brave son faced the horror that his school, Sandy Hook Elementary, endured and came out stronger because of it. I have watched as the light returned to his eyes and twinkle to his laughter. I have listened as he told me his story once, twice, again...however many times he needed to until it felt somewhere in the realm of okay again. And I have respected his recent wish to stop talking about that awful day, because he wants to dwell in the happier times of now.
Since that day, I have hugged my children and told them I love them more times than ever -- and that's a lot since I already did often. I have met with teachers and arranged therapies and monitored for changes in behavior. And I have listened, not just to my children but to other parents who need to talk about it so that we can move ahead. And that's the biggest thing, we've moved ahead.
On Monday, I was stopped in my tracks as a Facebook message from a friend popped on my screen. It was the day of the Boston Marathon -- a huge event for that city. The words were simple, sharing that there had been two explosions near the finish line and a former coworker of mine was there but okay.
I froze. I Googled, finding nothing yet because it was barely minutes after it happened. I hoped against reason that it wasn't true or that it wasn't as bad as it sounded.
As news trickled in, I found myself glued to the screen, hitched to the TV, held tight by horror.
"It's like our country is under attack," I said to my husband over the phone, as I filled him in on what happened. But when my children came inside from playing, I wiped away my tears and sat up straighter. I clicked away from the news. I stopped myself from letting them find out what happened.
On December 14, I didn't have the luxury of choosing whether my children knew about the tragedy here in Sandy Hook. We lived it. My son, my sweet 7-year-old survivor, could write volumes on the horror of that day. And when I read posts and articles by parents who chose not to tell their children about what happened that day, I was jealous. I wished I had that luxury.
On Monday, I struggled with how to tell my children about the horrific violence in Boston. I feel like it's something they should hear from me. But as I looked into Will's eyes and saw the familiar glow that I worried would never return after December 14, I realized that I can't tell them. At least not now. I won't be the one to extinguish that light in his eyes. I won't take away the bliss and innocence he has left. I won't tell him that evil still threatens around every corner and that bad things can happen. He already knows there's evil in this world. He knows that we don't get to choose our last day, and that sometimes despite our best efforts we can't stop evil from hurting us. He learned that all on his own.
I grieve with Boston and everyone at the marathon. My heart aches for the city, the runners, the families impacted by this. My prayers are with the city and the people, that they may find security again. And soon, I will join with other parents here to send our love and much more. But my kids? They deserve to be shielded from horror whenever they can be...and this is one of those times where they can be.
Forgive me, Boston, but I just can't tell my kids.
What I Wish I Could Tell My 7-Year-Old About the Boston Attacks
How to Talk to Kids About the Boston Marathon Bombing, Age by Age
A Sandy Hook Mom Shares Her Terror: It Wasn't Just a Shooting Anywhere; It Was Our School