Shelter in Place

The Parent Imperfect got up at about 5:30 this morning, just as he generally does. I got up thinking this morning about the moment yesterday afternoon when I sat in a pizza place, grabbing something to eat before Regan League baseball practice. The TV happened to be showing the crowd singing the National Anthem at the Bruins game the night before in honor of the young boy killed in the bombing on Monday. I’m not big on hockey or singing the National Anthem, in particular, but this scene was quite overwhelming. I had to get up and leave my pizza behind, and, if you know me, that’s unusual.

In any case, The plan this morning was for Vince to get up very early and go get a haircut before his final Driver’s Ed class. I actually slept in Connie’s bed last night, as she asked to sleep with her Mother in case she had more of the bad dreams that have been bothering her the last few days. On the surface, the bombing at the Marathon hasn’t seemed to bother her too much, but the terror has been working at another level.

I was in the shower when the message came via robo call. Unfortunately, the new phones we just got broadcast voice messages throughout the house, so Connie awoke to the news that the city would be closed today due to “intensive and ongoing police action” in several places. Much had happened while I slept.

We now know that one of the suspects in the Marathon bombing is dead, but the other suspect–a nineteen-year-old present or former student at UMass-Dartmouth–is still at large. Friends and former classmates contacted by the press describe him as “friendly and really social”…’perfectly normal”…”a sweetheart.” They are shocked to know that the captain of the wrestling team who got a scholarship to UMass could have been involved in this. Maybe it would be easier if he were a strange kid who seemed sullen and withdrawn. His older brother (now deceased) seemed to be having a more difficult time in this country. He is reported to have done a photo essay in 2008 saying that “I don’t have a single American friend…I just don’t understand them.”

We have been told to “shelter in place,” which means stay where we are. At first, this was just for the Allston-Brighton area and several surrounding cities, but about an hour ago the Governor extended this alert to the entire city of Boston. I am sitting here, so I’m obviously complying with the alert.

My work has been cancelled as my place of work is shut for the day. Liz’s clinic is apparently open, but they are not encouraging people to come in. The activities planned for both Connie and Vince have both been cancelled. Vince is glued to Twitter, soaking up every rumor anyone is willing to put out.

I told him to get a grip when he started talking about pipe-bombs, then it came over the radio that the police had done a controlled explosion of a pipe-bomb somewhere. It would be easy to become quite hysterical about all of this. The citywide lock down only intensifies the fear factor. Maybe I should get a grip.

WBUR just broadcast some interesting advice: “Don’t let your older children traumatize your younger ones.” That’s tough, given that we’re told to stay indoors and not answer the door. Vince has actually been very mature about this and quite careful about what he is saying to his sister. He’s watching “The Lion King” with her at this moment. His biggest frustration is that I won’t take him to get his hair cut, even though the barber shop is open.

It turns out that Connie knew the little boy that was killed on Monday. He and his family participated in the Winter Sports Program at Youth Enrichment Services. She’s not talking about this a lot, but I’m sure it makes it more real and for her.

Now they are talking about more “controlled explosions” in different places, as the police discover explosives. How can a nineteen-year-old kid evade this kind of a manhunt? Not for long, I would think, unless someone is helping him.



Filed under Just Parenting

2 responses to “Shelter in Place

  1. Evelyne

    Gulp, I cannot believe Connie knew the boy who died….I have not gotten the guts up to tell my kids one of the kids who died was 8 yo….but will before they enter society/school on Monday. It was easier to control information with school not being in session.

  2. Thanks, Evelyne. Yes, the fact that this happened on a school vacation week for many made it different in a few ways. Connie knew Martin as one more kid in a big program, but even that degree of connection made the whole thing different for her. Good luck with that conversation…

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