I had fully intended to sit down tonight and write a relatively light-hearted blog this evening detailing Addison's second month. In light of today's news however, my mind is somewhere else tonight.
I still remember April 19, 1995. I was in 8th grade. I don't remember exactly how I found out about the Murrah Building bombing. All around me I saw taut faces, hidden tears, kids being picked up from school early. I knew something bad had happened. But I'm still not sure that at the age of 13, I fully grasped the gravity of it all. Even as I visited the fence covered with mementos and stared past it to what was left of the Murrah Building, my innocence somehow stayed in tact, my mind unable to connect the horror before me with a person's capacity for evil. It sounds crazy, but when I saw that fence and the love and support it represented, the first word that came to my mind was hope.
At the age of 20, when the World Trade Center tragedy (that seems too light a word) struck, I wasn't quite so naive. My mom woke me up with a phone call and told me to turn on the news. I sat there for hours staring at the television, the coverage both enraging me and numbing me all at once. Although I didn't understand the lasting ramifications for our country that day, I felt unsafe, terrified that someone could think they were doing the right thing, furthering a cause by taking the lives of so many. Whatever shred of innocence I may have had left disappeared that day.
More recently, as a new mom, the shootings in Aurora and Newtown have affected me in a different way. I am no longer scared for myself. I cradle my daughter in my arms and I am terrified beyond words at what her future will be like. I shudder to think that instead of a future inevitable act of terrorism being a major event in history and in her life, it will most likely be as commonplace as a car accident. I cannot bear the thought of my beautiful little girl and her entire generation growing up either too frightened to step outside of their houses or so angry they probably shouldn't.
Today, as I sat and gaped at the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, I was taken back to that day so many years ago - the day that my innocence shielded me from what people are really capable of, the reality that safety is most often just an illusion. My heart is broken for the children who just lost their innocence forever, for the families that went to cheer someone on, their hearts full of pride, only to end up crying in the streets, and for the pain of rebuilding lives that so many will have to endure. It also breaks for Addison. This is the world that she is going to grow up in. While I feel helpless to change it, I pray that somehow, some way, we can help her hold onto her childhood as long as possible. That we can make her understand but not be afraid. And if we do our jobs, maybe someday she will find the hope in the darkness just like I did so many years ago, but instead she will hold onto it, using it to make a difference. Maybe even change the world. Oh, how I hope...