Tomorrow is Patriots’ Day celebrating the Battles of Lexington and Concord – the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. It is also the day of the Boston Marathon. Tonight it is impossible to not reflect on it as I prepare to celebrate the power, strength and accomplishments of the runners at a work event right on the finish line.
The Marathon has been part of my life in different ways dating back to 1997 which would have been my first one – not a runner, definitely not as a runner . . . my first as a resident of this amazing city. I worked in the cosmetics department at Lord & Taylor on Boylston Street. I remember fighting my way there walking blocks because the closest T station was closed. The store was a ghost town in the morning, allowing the employees to wander down to the windows to see the runners cross the finish line. As the day went on, we would start to see people coming in to use the bathroom, some of the runners would walk through to warm up wrapped in their foil blankets.
Eventually, I left lipsticks for cars as I entered the automotive field. For many years, my biggest struggle was getting to work on Commonwealth Ave. as traffic was detoured and various roads closed. Then it was 2013 – the year that changed Boston – the year of the bombings at the finish line that killed 3 civilians and injured hundreds of others.
Harry & Genevieve sheltered in place in the Blue House with Al in the days following as the manhunt was on for the bombers – our lives had changed and innocence was lost. From 26 weeks into my pregnancy, I worried that Genevieve’s heart would fail her – this thought still keeps me up at night. On April 15, 2013, I experienced a powerful new fear of the world outside. Co-workers and friends were on the finish line, while none were hurt, it was way too close for comfort. A friend told me that after the first explosion, he found himself walking towards it as he thought it had to be fireworks to celebrate the accomplishment of the runners. Then the second bomb went off – he didn’t know to run in the other direction. Terrorism was a story on the evening news and now it had come to our home.
While I cannot restore their innocence, we have replaced it with “Boston Strong”. So may Genevieve continue to be “Team Genevieve” strong on the inside and Boston Strong on the outside.