Making Sense of This May Day

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hey, hey, it’s May! Flowers, sunshine, color, tricycles, and all the delightful signs that let you know that Summer is right there, just in the next room.

Only three days in, this month is definitely a gripping one, don’t you think?

On the smaller scale, I ran my half-marathon in Long Branch, New Jersey on Sunday (May 1). I crossed the finished line feeling accomplished, strong. Don’t get it twisted: this dame was tired. As I told my older sister Yvette, 13.1 miles is a lot of miles! But it was that “good” kind of tired. The kind where you nestle into it, pleased with yourself for taking the hard road and sticking to it.

No surprise, I turned in early Sunday night. The soreness working its way through my legs, my feet, my back. I got under the covers knowing a good sleep was coming my way.

When my eyes popped open at not-yet 6 a.m., I reached over to the nightstand for my iPod. Check the time, the weather. (Even though I wasn’t running that morning—nor have plans to for another day or so—out of habit I still wanted to survey the conditions outside.) Boredom or perhaps it was that thing—the odd, little whisper or gentle nudge that transpires out of thin air—made me click on Twitter. Expecting to scroll through auto-tweets (the Sasafrass Jones Daily is out!) and annoying horoscopes, I was pulled out of any lingering grogginess when I read a Breaking News tweet:

Terrorist bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs.

I was stunned. Relief wasn’t really it. It was more disbelief. I had questions.

Then I clicked through to some other news stories. These ones about people taking to the streets outside the White House in DC and in Wall Street by Ground Zero in NYC. There were American flags waving. People cheering. It was a celebration.

I started to feel uneasy. My mind flashed back, of course, to the horror of September 11, 2001. The lives lost. The families shattered. The golden dust around our relatively secure existence, blown away. Gone.

And then, I thought about my child. All of our children, really. Thinking about how these last 9.5 years could be unpacked and explained to our kids, when their minds were old enough to digest even the smallest portion of it. I wondered if this May day would be circled in the history books, highlighted as the day “we got him”…?

The WSJ‘s blog The Juggle posted a story on how to talk to your kids about bin Laden’s death. The Washington Post’s kids’ section also ran a good piece that tries to explain to children who bin Laden was and what his death means.

I’m curious to hear from parents of older-than-toddler kids, what are you telling your young ones? Are you even broaching heavy subject?

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