I wasn’t sure I was going to blog anything about this, but I can’t stop thinking about it, so I have decided to put it out there.
Most of you know what happened yesterday in Boston. In my city. The Boston Marathon is the heart of our city. Patriots Day is the most anticipated holiday of the year for many of us. We’ve been at the Finish Line, we’ve gone to the Red Sox game and cheered the runners on at Mile 25 afterwards, we’ve stood on Heartbreak Hill and yelled words of encouragement. We revel in this day as a community. People from all over the world, of all abilities, come to Boston for this weekend. It’s crowded, chaotic, and captivating. If you’ve read my blog here for any length of time, you know this is my favorite day of the year.
Yes, I may live a little bit west of Boston now, but I lived there for six years after college. My extended family is from all around Boston. My husband’s family is from all around Boston. I’ve lived there, worked there, played there. Boston is an extension of my suburban life: we go “into town” for dinner, to see Red Sox games, concerts, meet friends. I do photo sessions there. We have family & friends who live there. We also had friends running in the Marathon yesterday. (They are all safe, thankfully.)
When we moved out of Boston to buy a house, we ended up choosing one that was on the Marathon route, near the starting line. It’s become a tradition for us to have our local friends and all of their kids over, and go out to cheer for the runners. The kids were babies when we first started this, and now think nothing is more fun than getting high fives from the runners (and getting to eat non-stop snacks while we’re out there). Yesterday was no different. We packed up six strollers, headed to the course, and set up camp. We watched as the police cars, motorcycles and pace trucks drove by, announcing each new wave of the Marathon. We cheered wildly for the runners, for Rick & Dick Hoyt, for our amazing friends who were running, and for the Easter bunny, Tinkerbell, and Iron Man. Each wave brought tears of pride, joy, inspiration. Then we packed up and went home, so everyone (adults included) could take naps. Another typical Marathon Monday, in the books.
I saw it on Twitter first. Turned on the news in horror, and just as quickly shut it off, as Lila was asking what was wrong. I put Doc McStuffins on the tv, and became glued to my phone and computer. Refresh wasn’t working fast enough. As I watched the events unfold, read every bit of news as quickly as I could, and said countless prayers, I was overcome with a sick feeling. It was all going to change now. How DARE these people, whoever they are, take this day from us. THIS DAY.
But then I realized. They can’t. They won’t. Boston’s a tough town, full of resilient and kind people. Our first responders are nothing short of incredible. Even those not in uniform were running in to help. You’ve seen the stories on tv of how quickly people jumped into action, without thinking twice. People offering their homes to strangers, restaurants opening their doors and not expecting to be paid.
We will grieve and pray for everyone affected by yesterday’s events. We will support them the best we know how. We will help, however we can. There will be vigils to honor those lost. Runners will organize charity runs. People will re-run the course on their own, all the way to the finish line. Boylston Street will re-open. And then? I bet you Marathon participation next year is at an all-time high. You don’t mess with Boston.
This. This is the Marathon. This is how you need to see it. Not what the news has been showing for the past 36 hours. That part needs to be remembered, those lost and hurt need to be honored. I want to do that by not letting “them” win. By cheering on the runners again next year. Our friends coming over. My kids getting high-fives.
This is the Boston Marathon.