What do I tell them about Boston?

17 Apr

As a Mom, I pretty much go with my gut most of the time. There are situations where I do research and talk to experts, but I would say I’m a touchy feely do what feels right kinda parent.

Yesterday, as my six and a half year old and I walked back to the car after picking her up at the front gate of her school, she dropped a bomb on me.

“Mommy, there was a Marathon in Boston and somebody killed an eight year old with a bomb, did you know that?”

At that moment my instinct was to tell her that it wasn’t true. I wanted to tell her that people don’t kill eight year olds, that children don’t ever die before their time, and that the world is a completely safe place for you to grow and play. I knew that telling her those lies might put a band-aid on the situation for now, but it would eventually rear its ugly head when she learned the truth from someone else.

I took a deep breath and winged it like I have never winged it before:
“Yes, baby I saw what happened in Boston on the News. A bomb exploded and a little boy was very hurt and he died. Nobody knows yet why this has happened and everybody is trying to figure out all the details. It is a very sad thing to hear about.”
There we go, that should squash it… I should have known better.

“Mommy, why would somebody kill a child? How does a bomb kill you? Did he die at the hospital? Did he have brothers and sisters? What grade was he in? Is that gonna happen to me? How far is Boston? What are his Mommy and Daddy doing now? Are the police gonna catch the guy? Can I watch it on the news? Did you tape it? What did he look like?


It didn’t look like a child psychologist was going to appear at that very moment and apparently I’m the adult in the situation, I went through her list one by one and answered her queries. I spared the details and If I honestly didn’t know the answer, I just told her so. At the end of the longest 10 minutes of my week, she seemed satisfied with my explanations.

The only question we both had at the end was, Why? How could I tell her why some people hurt other people on purpose, even if they are innocent children? I don’t even understand that part of life yet and maybe I never will.
I told her that some people, not many, only a very very few are just bad, there goodness is gone and hurting other people is easy for them. You are surrounded by love and people who want good things for you, you are safe, I am watching you, I promise.

Then she looked at me with those sparkly perfect green eyes and asked, “Then why didn’t that little boys Mommy at the Marathon watch him and keep him safe?”

I pray for an end to this type of violence. I hope I never have to have a conversation like this with my child ever again.



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