It was my 12-year-old son that told us about the Boston Marathon bombing today.
He heard about it in the car on the way home from school. He was worried about his friend’s mother who was running the race.
My heart skipped a beat when he told me.
I’ve never run a marathon and I probably never will, but I’ve run plenty of races. My husband has run more. He probably would have liked to be in Boston today. Many of his running friends were. By the grace of God, they are all ok.
This past weekend my kids’ school sponsored its first annual 5k at Centennial Park in Ellicott City. It was an amazing event in so many ways. Not only did it raise money for the school, it strengthened the school community more than any other fundraiser in a number of years. Runners and walkers alike came to support the event. Those who didn’t run cheered on those who did. It was a beautiful spring day, and the jubilant spirit generated by the race echoed across the lake. One mom who isn’t a runner asked me how she could get started. It was that kind of event.
All my kids ran that race and all came away with a huge feeling of accomplishment. They may not run on a regular basis, but I think they consider themselves runners now. They know how it feels to be part of a race. They’ve caught the bug.
So the news of Boston was particularly disturbing for them. My oldest daughter and I watched the news clips of the runners coming into the finish line and getting knocked over by the blast. She was horrified. And I was at a loss for words.
What do you tell your children about an event like this? You can’t promise them that everything will be ok. You can’t promise that you will keep them safe. In today’s world, that would be an empty promise and my older three know it. The one thing that we hold onto in our family is faith. We trust that God is with us always in the good times and even in the suffering.
So for now, we will keep running. A few hours after the blast, my husband found a post on Facebook for a virtual run called Runners Unite to Remember. You can run any distance at any time between April 16 and May 4. It’s not a fundraiser, just an act of unity and solidarity among the running community. It’s that community that my kids had their first real taste of last weekend. My husband printed out a race bib for himself, but I’m going to ask him to print out five more. I think this is a run we should do as a family.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 14, Lilly, 12, Adam, 12, and Jonah, 8.