Remember the Monday before your 4th birthday when you and Makiah looked out the window at all of the helicopters and ambulances swirling around and out of the South End? I know you love locomotives so this was a treat for both of you. Makiah’s mama Erika didn’t say the emergency vehicles were out in full force because there was a terrorist attack on Bolyston Street in Copley Square at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. You stubbornly didn’t want to put your shoes back on to go out that afternoon, otherwise you may have witnessed this attack.
A little boy died. He was 8 and his name was Martin. Two other people died. They were standing by the finish line cheering on the runners.
The day after the marathon as I was getting ready for work you asked me “Mama, are you putting on moisturizer?” I said yes and asked if you wanted some. You said “No, but maybe when I’m older.” These funny, wise little things you say make us all laugh. Even in sad and scary times.
Remember that Thursday after your birthday we went outside and saw all the news cameras outside and police cars and trucks and bikes and the SWAT team? I know it was so much fun.You and Makiah even got to say hi to the Rabbi from Temple Israel. And you got to talk to a driver with a truck full of dirt, used to create a security barrier that is too heavy to ram on Washington Street. It was so exciting that Obama came to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, wasn’t it? You told me you even shook his hand – his left hand. But I’m told you might have embellished this just a bit … I’m not sure you actually saw Obama. He came to town, along with our Mayor Menino, Governor Deval Patrick, and others, including the Republican President Candidate (the one Papa voted for) Mitt Romney, to hold an interfaith ceremony to help heal our city.
I didn’t go to work on Friday. Before I fell asleep on Thursday night I knew trouble was brewing. There was already reported violence on the MIT campus. A police officer was shot and killed. He was only 26. I went to sleep amongst the police and ambulance sirens, feeling these weren’t responding to routine calls. I woke up to multiple text messages and scary news. The city was effectively shut down. Even the MBTA was shut down. No trains, no buses. I took the day off. Papa stayed home to study. We didn’t go outside until late afternoon, just to get some air on the roof. We watched a lot of videos, read books, and cuddled. I worried about your birthday party planned for Saturday at the neighborhood dance studio. So many things were closed in the city, and so many different local and federal agencies were searching for the two brothers who set bombs off at the Boston Marathon. I didn’t want to tell you your birthday party might be canceled.
By the time we put you to bed Friday night, the night Papa and I were supposed to go to the Diplomat’s Ball for the Fletcher School that got canceled, the bombing suspect brothers had either been killed (the older one) or captured (the younger one). We felt relief. Papa and I drank a bottle of dessert wine and watched the news. We are excited for your birthday party.
I’m glad this was a fun week for you, full of wonder and excitement. You are four now, which seems so old to us, but you are still so young. Too young to comprehend what a week scary we had in Boston. I wanted to write this letter because I just thought maybe one day when you’re old (like your Mama) you might want to know what really happened during your birthday week.