Two major news events I will never forget from my first maternity leave in 2011– when Osama Bin Laden was killed and Whitey Bulger captured. I was glued to the TV for each and ate up the 24/7 news coverage.
Sadly, the major news story from my second leave is the Marathon Bombings. So close to home. So heart wrenching and beyond horrific, especially so now that the two of you have joined us in this world. (And, we could never imagine our lives without you now).
Someday, you girls may ask me and your dad where we were when the bombs went off. Or you may have to interview us about it — like how I had to interview Babci in 7th grade about where she was when JFK was shot (shopping for a victory dance dress is what I remember).
I will use this post to tell you our Marathon story. It isn’t remarkable in any way, unlike the heroic efforts of Boston’s fine law enforcement officers and first responders and our dear dear friend the Editor at the Globe that crazy week in April 2013. But it’s our story, and your story too.
It was a chilly Monday morning, like much most of my maternity leave with the Deputy. It was Marathon Monday/Patriots Day. The Nanny had called in sick so it was the three of us together all day. Last year, the Sheriff and I spent this Boston holiday (your dad’s self-proclaimed favorite day of the year) at Carson Beach in Southie. It had to be near 90 degrees. This year, with Daddy off to the Sox game bright and early for his usual day of debauchery with the boys, the three of us bundled up in winter coats and hats, took a picture at the same spot we beached it last year, and headed to Farragut Park for some morning play. The Sheriff made a little friend there who liked to watch the airplanes, but then a squirrel attacked the snack bag and we both got really spooked. The Sheriff cried for her raisins that now were all over the ground. I quickly plopped her in the stroller, left the raisins (and the other snacks the squirrel had gotten into) on the ground for fear of contracting rabies or some other unseemly squirrel disease, and told her we’d stop at the store on the way home for more. My effort to calm her down only sort of worked…until we passed M Street Park and she said “Mama, play park?” How could I resist? The Sheriff’s tears over the pesky squirrel were not yet dry, and the day was warming up and the park was filled with “friends.” The Sheriff had a blast and I stood around chatting with other moms, walking around with the always well-behaved Deputy in the Bjorn, loving life and thinking that I was pretty darn lucky girl.
After the park, we came home for lunch and nap. The Sheriff was fast asleep in her bed and the Deputy was asleep in my arms on the couch when I got a text from your dad telling me that there was an explosion at the finish line. I immediately turned the news on, knowing that AK was working the finish line for John Hancock. Thank God she was fine and unharmed from this insane terrorist activity, and thank God I didn’t take her up on her offer to bring you girls down to the Marathon that day. Thank God I opted for a lazy day in Southie with the two of you.
Meanwhile your dad was at the Red Sox game and later at An Tua Nua (a bar near Uncle Todd’s condo in the Fenway). He and I were in touch over text and he was safe from these explosions. I texted him to please come home but we was already evacuated from the bar and in lock down at Todd’s. Cell service was spotty so I kept getting texts from his buddies telling me that he was OK. I was so worried. He didn’t get home until 8pm that night. And he got a big hug and kiss when he walked in the door. And AK came over with fries and shakes from Tasty Burger that evening — comfort food as we referred to it. It was really good to see her and I know she wanted to see both of you after the frightful day she had.
The terror that was unleashed on Bolyston Street that day was simply unthinkable. Everyone in the city was so grief stricken and shocked. That week, the streets were a little quieter, and people were a little nicer to each other. The Editor worked around the clock and your dad and I were glued to the TV and our computers and iPhones, always trying to get the latest updates. If we were away from the news for a couple hours, we’d have to play catch up. I joined Twitter this week, only to get the news updates on the bombings. Once they released the pictures of the terrorists, it was only a matter of time. And when we woke up Friday morning of marathon week, we learned that the first bomber was dead, and his brother was on the run, believed to be somewhere in Watertown. The city of Boston and surrounding towns proceeded to be locked down for all of Friday as a massive man hunt ensued for bomber #2.
Needing to get out of the house for “Cida,” our G Street house cleaning crew, all dressed in your Boston gear for unity and strength, we packed up and went to Aunt Kate’s for lunch on Lockdown Friday. When Cida showed up there, we then went to a deserted M Street park just for a short while for some fresh air before heading home to watch more coverage (this guy knew better than to cross the bridge to Southie). Finally, that evening, after you girls were asleep, they captured the second bomber, hiding in a boat in Watertown — a surreal ending to an awful story.
You both awoke the next day having no idea of what transpired the week and night before. You were way too little — way too innocent, much like your Dorchester neighbor Martin Richard who so unfairly lost his life on Marathon Monday. I don’t think we ever will make sense of the horror that transpired that day — the blood on the street, the clouds of smoke in the sky, the lock down, and the man hunt. But if there was ever a time when we were proud to live in Boston, it was now. Both of you little ladies got your starts in life here as “city kids” and I hope you will always hold this city near and dear to your hearts. You are Boston Strong. xoxo
So the Deputy is going to be 8 weeks old this Friday and soon enough Ace and Joker will be measuring her life in months not weeks and then years not months. Soon enough, the Deputy will be chasing her sister around the barracks wanting to do everything she does, wanting to wear her clothes, read her books and play with her toys. And soon enough, the Deputy is going to want to hold the Sheriff responsible for occasionally treating her like a rag doll during her first few weeks of life — ya know, just some “accidental” kicks here and there and over-zealous hugs and kisses. And of course there are the frequent demands made to Ace by the Sheriff to “baby down.” (Translation: put baby sister down so you can tend to me!).
But Ace and Joker do not want the Deputy to grow up too fast. Having a baby in the house is oh so wonderful, even if it means extra fussing at dinner time, investing in every gas remedy available, and enduring somewhat stressful car rides with a sometimes cranky baby. Nothing in the world beats the Deputy’s sweet smiles and coos ( a recent development), the way she puts her hand under her chin and chillaxes in Ace’s arms, and the way that she loves to cuddle at bedtime. The Deputy truly is an adorable babe, and Ace is treasuring every moment she has with her on her (short) maternity leave. The G Street Gang certainly is staying busy with morning activities with the Sheriff and afternoon play dates with friends. The Sheriff does not seem to mind having her lunch and nap with the Nanny while the Deputy and Ace get some one-on-one bonding and play time in.
With Ace’s hands literally full, Joker and the Sheriff have been inseparatable since the Deputy’s arrival. The pair has developed quite a special father/daughter bond and often can be found singing and dancing with each other, making dinner, grocery shopping, laughing hysterically at tubby time, and watching the Celtics. (The Sheriff will proudly declare that Paul Pierce is her favorite player.) The Sheriff certainly is her father’s daughter in more ways than one, and this transition period certainly has brought them even closer together.
So the G Street Gang is settling into their new normal as a family of four and all is very well, aside from the growing mound of unfolded laundry that Ace keeps meaning to get to. Ace and Joker learned last night (the hard way) that going out to dinner with both girls may not be in the cards for the next few months but that’s ok. That just means more date nights for them, if they are good about them…
Though they both may routinely fall asleep on the couch at 9pm now — a phase that they know soon shall pass — Ace and Joker wouldn’t trade these days for anything. They have been blessed with yet another sweet and special baby girl and nothing beats it. xoxo