My mother, now 75 years old, called today to wish my son a Happy Birthday. Before we ended the call, she said to me in Spanish, “Mi hijita, cuidado, todo esta loco, cuida los ninos, no sale si no necesitas”. Translation: “My daughter, be careful. Everything is crazy, take care of your children, don’t go out if you don’t have to”. I said my usual, “Yeah ok mami, ok”. I had not yet watched the news today.
This evening, as a result of current events, I feel afraid for my family for the first time. I’m not fully sure of what. The unknown? Maybe. Terrorism? Maybe. I do not typically live in fear. I had spent the day laughing, playing and doting on my son for his 4th birthday. I learned about today’s news around 2:30 when my spouse informed me of the lockdown in Boston.
Tonight, as I drove through our quiet streets, I flashed back to earlier this week. In my kitchen at 10:30 pm, I was frosting birthday cupcakes for my son’s preschool class the next day. I thought about how late it was and that I felt tired. Then I thought about those parents of Newtown Connecticut who would never frost another cupcake for their child. I felt deeply sad and reflective. I made an m&m happy face on the final cupcake and went to bed.
I realized tonight that events of the last 12 years, from 9/11 through the Boston Marathon attack feel like they are shifting my perspectives on how I want to live. I actually thought, “Maybe I need to move. The northeast is a vulnerable place to live amongst the nation’s major cities”. I have never thought this way.
My spouse, who listened to me intently and with compassion, said, “These events are stark reminders that the potential for tragedy is there, all around us all the time, in all types of circumstances. Not just terroristic tragedies. Tragedy is tragedy no matter how it happens. It’s a call to appreciate every single moment we have. Every single moment.”
So my work begins. While I attempt to practice these words daily, I must now do so in the face of fear and vulnerability. I must remind myself of how randomly tragedy occurs. I must mentally acknowledge the safety and wellness that is my reality today. I will continue to appreciate the abundance of good, kindness and love that I experience daily.
If you find yourself with similar feelings, perhaps you can join me in practicing faith that good will prevail, acceptance of that which we cannot control, strength to handle what comes our way and gratitude for all that we have. Let’s transform our fear. We can do this.