I keep going back and forth… From being glued to the tv and reading updates on Twitter and online to turning the tv off and walking away from my phone. I am battling both a need to block it out and a feeling of being obligated to keep watching, keep reading, so I can somehow share the burden and carry my part of this heavy load.
Except that’s not how it works. Watching the news and shedding tears for an 8 year old little boy waiting for his dad at the finish line neither brings that little boy back, nor eases the pain for his family. Perhaps the outpouring of support and prayers from strangers brings a small amount of comfort to Martin Richard’s family, but nothing short of that boy being back on this earth will ever be enough. Seeing the same clips over and over again will not restore limbs or life. Feeling this shared heartbreak that has washed over our nation will not be a balm for those fighting injuries that may last a lifetime.
So why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we insist on watching the same news clips, hearing the same sound bites, and putting ourselves through the emotional turmoil of the repetitive horror if all it does is break us down and weigh heavy on our hearts?
Because we need answers. We need to know why this happened, who has done this, and to what end. The thing is…. answers to those questions won’t make a difference. We’ll never understand why and it will never make sense. Putting a name and face to the these terrible deeds will never be able to heal our hearts.
So what can we do? What can we do that will help fill in these cracks and voids that yesterday left behind?
We can look for the good.
Sometimes it’s hard to see. Sometimes you have to dig through a lot of bad and a lot of sad to find it. But I promise you, it’s there.
It’s the first responders who ran toward the mayhem and the danger, who ignored basic human instincts that tell us to save ourselves and get out while we can. They run in while everyone else runs out.
It’s the runners who kept on running to go donate blood. It’s the people of Boston who took strangers into their homes. It’s the doctors and the nurses who cared for the victims and tirelessly worked through the day and the night.
It’s in us. In all of us who care enough to watch, care enough to cry, and care enough to go on and find the good so that in the end, the light beats out the darkness.
Find the good. Be the good.
Eleanor and I have another trip coming up in a couple of weeks. And like most of our past trips, it will just be the two of us on the plane together. Flying as a solo parent means packing her into the Ergo (lifesaver), slinging a bag over my shoulder and hauling her car seat (and sometimes an extra carry on bag) through check-in, security, trams, and terminals. You think that sounds challenging? We haven’t gotten to the actual flight with a toddler yet!
You’d think after doing this several times (3 months, 8 months, and 15 months) I’d feel more confident, but traveling with a baby carries that risk of a meltdown or tantrum. It’s always in the back of my mind that this time it will be my child that is inconsolable due to pressure changes and pain in her ears or frustration from not being able to move around as much as she wants.
In order to ward off any of these nightmare-ish events, I usually pack new activities or books and a few special snacks to keep her occupied. I’ve been collecting little things over the last week or two to throw in my purse, but after she once again pulled out an old make-up bag of mine from the bathroom cabinet, I had an even better idea! I decided to use the bag as her own little travel case. It’s the perfect size to put in my oversized purse and I won’t have to dig and dig and dig for her snacks and books.
Clockwise from top: Purple Carrot and Blueberry Happy Baby Puffs, Go-Go Squeez Berry Apple pouch, Nature’s Bakery All Natural Whole Wheat Fig Bars (yum!), Alphabet stickers, Dr. Seuss’s Amazing ABC book, zoo animal stickers, $1 notebook from Michael’s, $1 Hello Kitty Crayons in a Michael’s gift card tin, Lalaloopsy Invisible Ink activity book (no clue what Lalaloopsy is and they’re kind of creepy, but I liked the idea of invisible ink!), Barbara’s Bakery Snackimals, Munchkin Traveling Flashcards, $1 Minnie Mouse Coloring and Sticker book, $1 Calculator (Eleanor loves to punch the buttons and also likes to pretend it’s a cell phone), and a pacifier leash.
After cleaning out the old make up bag, I packed up all of these goodies and they fit perfectly! I know the snacks will be a hit since they fall in the “treat” category at our house and I think her recent obsession with letters will make the alphabet stickers and flashcards a hit. Coloring is a real hit-or-miss activity with her, but it’s an easy addition.
Ta-da! All packed up and ready for our adventure!