The Boston bombing week over, a mom who lives near last week's manhunt for a marathon bomber sent her son back to school today. Her hope: That he discovers the chaos inside can spark a lifetime of questions that matter.
No, nothing feels normal yet.
My fifth-grade son has returned to school today after a week that was supposed to be fun. His April vacation camp offered a holiday from homework, a chance to make candles and cookies and to hang with his buddies. Instead, he never got to finish the last day.
First, came the bombings at the Boston Marathon. He was still in camp on Tuesday, eager to move on – but then came the hunt for who did it. By Friday morning (April 19), one of the bombing suspects had died after a brutal shootout. Five cities in the metropolitan area were in a security lockdown, including Cambridge where we live. A manhunt for the second suspect dragged on for hours in Watertown, about a mile from our house.
At one point on Friday, my son said he wished this had never happened during his lifetime. How I wish that were true. Today, as I watched him silently reading the comics, nibbling at a piece of toast for breakfast, I know this event is far from over.
Yet, I’ve also realized that denying the rollercoaster of feelings unleashed isn’t just absurd; it’s not the way to help my child.
I don’t know for sure how he’ll experience being back in school, but I suspect it will be comforting on many levels. He’ll be with his friends and familiar adult faces; the school building will be full of noise, blessed chatter, a press of people. It will be a relief after the empty streets and ominous silence outside on Friday.