B strong


It’s still school vacation week, and it’s warm out, and sunnier than expected. But we are all inside.  It’s hard to know where to begin, but once again I had to send a message out to extended family, regarding this unbelievable situation in our greater Boston community.

Dear ones –  Thanks for the messages reaching out with love and support this morning. It is very freaky. I have been receiving alerts from Harvard police all night, since the shooting of the MIT officer after midnight. Arlington borders the towns that are on lockdown, and we can’t travel in to Cambridge (Harvard is closed anyway) so we are effectively on lockdown as well. The subway is locked down. I had to tell the girls I wasn’t going to work today and figure out how to explain that the bad guys who did the marathon bombs are going to be caught but people have to stay indoors to make it easier for the police to find them….  This is unlike anything I have ever experienced.  It is just an awful tragedy now expanding in worse ways for the communities of Cambridge, Watertown, and the MIT community, where I have many friends.  But the girls and I are OK.  xoxo PHB

I finally had to start watching television, feeling so isolated and in need of real-time news. With the help of a computer and the iPad, I had to resort to full-on unlimited screen time for the girls.  For a while, they are distracted and (with headphones on) not hearing the tv, nor my phone conversations with friends, colleagues, other parents as we struggle to figure out how to structure this most disorienting lockdown day with and for our kids. I have an awful suspicion that the kids are actually more OK with the lockdown concept than we are, since they have to do these drills every year in school, and every time I hear about the customary routine where they huddle in the corners and closets of the classroom, it makes me feel sad and sick.

The idea that sometimes you have to stay indoors and lock your doors to evil is something they have learned to live with.  The only bad part for them at this point is that I didn’t go to work, so their fun babysitter didn’t come over, and they are starting to bicker in the usual way.  Meanwhile, I am reeling with the effort of processing all the information that is coming out about the crimes and the manhunt and the politics and the context.  But without exposing the girls to the glut of images and details.  They tell me they are “quite familiar” with the concept of a manhunt.  Y’know, mom, when Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban, he was the subject of a manhunt. Of course Sirius was one of the good guys, but I don’t think it helps anything to make ugly clarifications for them.

The apartment in Cambridge where these bomber brothers lived is less than a dozen blocks from my office, and basically around the corner from where I lived as a graduate student.  The Target on Arsenal Street in Watertown is where we shop. And to see the images of a deserted downtown Boston may be the most disorienting sight of all.

The carpool moms and I are conferring — soccer practice and dance team are scheduled for later this afternoon, but is it too close to Cambridge, or will it be cancelled anyway? Right now, like people all over Boston and our neighbor towns, the B bus is staying home.


**Updated to add:  Right after I posted this the girls decided to play outside, and info started to come in from the town recreation department and dance studio.  Activities are going forward, and I’m relieved.  It’s awful to be in this time warp of waiting for things to be over, but if we are not banned from travel within our town, it’s so important for the kids to be doing their regular stuff.  Looks like I will be able to drive some carpool after all, even as we wait anxiously for news of an end to the standoff.