I need a 12 step program to stop watching the news.
I flew out of Boston with Ally last Monday to see my sister in Miami and cheer her up about her move there. We arrived and as if on cue, Ally got a terrible stomach ache that went from a “Mom, my stomach hurts,” to a “Moooooooom, I’m going to die,” in 10 short minutes. Joan and I were trying to remain calm, as Ally howled in the back seat. Good with pain, and not a crier, I knew, in the words of Miss Clavel, “Something was not right.” And yes, I know that is not exactly how Miss Clavel said it, but it’s close enough and how I felt, so stop with your preciseness. Meanwhile, we get some Advil, but it has no effect and I call Peter, who was back in Brookline working, and ask him to google the best hospital to go to, because the writing is on the wall, Ally is telling me she is dying and she cannot move. “I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO GO,” he screams into the phone at me, while we are in a questionable part of Hollywood, with Ally in the back seat sweating, and bent over in pain. “What? Can you just google it?” I ask. Again, with the “I don’t know where to go.” Furious, I hang up, give into Ally’s escalating pleas of pain and call an ambulance FROM THE ROAD. Peter calls back a few minutes later and tells me he’s sorry, but that there has been a bombing at the marathon, and he didn’t know where Jake was, but he has found him. Relieved for a second that he has not completely lost his mind, I then let the words “bomb” settle in. But only for a moment, because I am flagging down the ambulance, and watching my daughter get carried away on a gurney. I am not allowed to sit with her, instead I must sit in the front. We are close to the Joe Dimaggio Children’s Hopsital. Oh, did I tell you that my sister’s GPS, which we initially tried to use to locate a hosptial on our own, was giving us the wrong directions. It had us in an entirely different place, so when it would advise us, there was no streets around that remotely resembled their directives. PART OF THE BOMBING PLOT TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD, PERHAPS?
At the hospital, a really beautiful place, we are immediately given a room, and several nurses. Ally is on an IV of fluids. I am giving the nurse all her vital statistics. They give her some pain medicine and she begins to sleep. Everybody who comes into the room tells us about the bombings because we are from Boston. Ally is still in severe pain. The nurse Helene is incredibly nice and predicts that Ally is about to vomit, but she is too late with little pink plastic catch-all and it appears that she throws up everything she has ever eaten since Kindergarten. She gets some nausea medicine and 10 minutes later, like someone flipped a switch on her head, she is totally fine. Perky, even. The pain is gone. And we are just left with the pain of the fact that a bomb has ripped through our city.
The five days we spent in Miami, were surreal. On the one hand, we were in a beautiful, sunny place with my sister, WHO I MISS AND LOVE, experiencing her new life. On the other, we were glued to the tv, the computer and our phones, hungry for any news of the bombing. Ally was terrified and couldn’t be away from media for more than the time it took her to take a shower. I tried to limit her media consumption, but at 15, there’s only so much you can do. She wanted to go home from the moment she heard about the bombs. She wanted to be with her dad and brother. She was utterly terrified, and one night was convinced that an innocent guy was following us (he was not). I told her she could hop a plane and go home, because what was the point of her being there, if she couldn’t even have fun, but she said no, and just stuck to the Boston Police twitter feed, giving us news while we shopped, swam, ate. It didn’t help that Jessie, Jake’s girlfriend was at the finish line and had seen some horrific stuff. She was safe, but had stories to tell and both Ally and I were worried about her.
On Friday, our day of departure, our flight seemed to be on time. Of course, Boston was on lockdown, so we weren’t quite sure if we got to Logan, we could get home, but Jake and Peter said they would come and get us. Our 7:30 flight, was full and everyone had their tv tuned to the news. The police seemed to have cornered him in Watertown. I was glued to the set, flipping channels, and praying. Ten minutes before we landed, Dzhokar Tsarnaev was captured, and the streets of Boston and surrounding communities erupted in relief and raucous joy.
We’d been away for the entirety of the ordeal, but not really. Our hearts and souls remained in Boston.