Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston, You're My Home: an Ode to My Adopted Hometown

When my husband and I trekked east from Colorado so that I could attend law school at the University of Virginia, we never expected that we would end up living in Boston.  Even so, we did not land here in the Hub randomly. 

During the fall of my 2L year, I interviewed with firms in a number of cities, not knowing where we wanted to settle.  New York?  Too big, too loud, too expensive.  Chicago?  Too nondescript, too unfamiliar.  D.C., where I thought we were most likely to move?  Too transient, too impersonal.  But Boston... Boston seemed to have everything we were looking for: all of the culture (numerous museums, exceptional restaurants, and hundreds of years of American history that is tangible on a daily basis) that you expect from a big city, but with the neighborhood feel of a smaller town, plus citizens fiercely devoted to it (and their local sports teams).  Yes, Boston looked like the perfect place to begin both our careers and our family.

And we were right!  I've been with the same firm for five and a half years, gaining great professional experience and opportunities.  We've brought three babies home to the condo we bought in a neighborhood about a mile from downtown that is FULL of young families like ours.  Our girls attend preschool at a neighborhood church and take swim lessons at the local Y.  We can't visit a playground or coffee shop, or even take a walk around the block, without running into someone we know: a friend of the girls, our dental hygienist, a current or former colleague from work, the guy who works at the hardware store...  As an added bonus, we live steps from the Bunker Hill Monument, down the street from the Navy Yard and the U.S.S. Constitution, and around the corner from the Freedom Trail.  Boston is steeped in history and LOVES to celebrate it, which explains all of the holidays we have here that I'd never heard of before moving to Boston: Evacuation Day, Bunker Hill Day, Patriots' Day...

This year, Patriots' Day, also fondly known as Marathon Monday in these parts, began for us much like it has every other year: We met up with other families at the Training Field, where bikes, scooters, and strollers were decorated in red, white, and blue balloons and streamers, then paraded over to City Square to wait for "Paul Revere" and to listen to a reading of Longfellow's poem about his midnight ride.  For those of you who don't know, Patriots' Day commemorates the dawn of the American Revolution, with reenactments of the battles at Lexington and Concord, and the rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes, who rode from town to town shouting warnings that the British had arrived.  (You know, "The Redcoats are coming, the Redcoats are coming!")  So, every year on Patriots' Day, Paul Revere sets out from Charlestown on horseback, just like he did in 1775.  The girls love to watch him ride around City Square and then gallop off down the road, and I love introducing them to a little slice of American history.

Celebrating Patriots' Day on Monday morning

After Paul Revere set off for Medford, we walked home and picked up our typical weekday routine:  I headed to the office and Chad got the girls ready for lunch and naps.  Jealous of those out watching the marathon, I plugged away at a memo, and then took a break with a friend for some caffeine in the middle of the afternoon.  On our way back from Starbucks, we heard about the explosions at the finish line, and I spent the rest of the afternoon checking in with friends who were running or spectating, reassuring out-of-town family and friends that we were safe and sound, and trolling newsfeeds online.

Setting off bombs at the finish line of a marathon, to maim and kill runners raising money for charity and their family and friends who have come out to support them, including babies and children?  What kind of a person DOES that? 

I am devastated for the victims and their families, furious with the cowards who perpetrated this attack, and unsure of how (or whether) to address the existence of this kind of evil with my daughters.  And while I am afraid for my daughters to some extent, because I know that I can't always keep them safe, I am heartened by the strength, the humanity, and the goodness of the vast majority of people, and I am SO proud of how my adopted hometown has responded to this tragic event.

Instead of running from the chaos that erupted after the explosions, many people -- emergency workers, race volunteers, and bystanders alike -- ran toward it to help: pinching arteries closed with their fingers, fashioning tourniquets out of belts and lanyards, carrying those who had been injured and rushing them to medical personnel...

And the hospitals!  Horrifically, tragically, three people were killed and over 170 were injured in the blasts.  But the death toll would certainly have been higher if the city's hospitals, some of the very best in the country if not the world, had not been so well-prepared.  Amazingly, every single victim who was alive when reached by rescuers has survived.  When you consider the severity of some of the injuries they were treating, this is truly incredible. 

And then there are the little things.  Donations made to defray expenses incurred by the victims and their families.  (The One Fund already has raised more than $10 million.)  Perfect strangers offering spare beds and couches to those displaced by evacuations of the crime scene.  Words of encouragement and hugs shared.  Little things that make a big difference.

Tuesday morning downtown

As I finish writing this, I am currently "sheltered in place," at home with Chad and the girls.  The city has shut down to allow the police to do their thing.  And they're doing it: identifying and locating the suspects overnight, killing one of them when they engaged police in a shoot-out.  Sadly, though, this progress in the investigation has not come without cost, as one officer was killed and another seriously injured during the course of the night. 

Now, with businesses closed and people locked safely in their homes, police are canvassing neighborhoods, going door-to-door in order to locate and apprehend the second suspect.  I am grateful they are here to protect us, and I have no doubt that they will find him.   

The bombing and its aftermath, as tragic and awful as it is, has had an effect that was certainly unintended by the bombers, bringing people together, making this great city even stronger and more resilient than it already was.

And I am proud to call Boston my home.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Girls' Weekend in DC

Yikes, I am WAY behind... We've been busy planning for some changes around here, but I'll fill you in on that later.  First, we need to catch up a little bit.

I have always been blessed with wonderful girlfriends everywhere I go, and law school was no exception.  Three weeks ago, I flew to DC for the weekend to visit with my UVa Law girls (minus Amanda, who was dearly missed).

Out to dinner in the Penn Quarter
We spent the weekend eating amazing food, drinking a variety of fancy adult beverages, doing a little shopping, watching some basketball (there are some rabid Big Ten fans among these ladies), and catching up on each other's lives.  We've gotten together several times in the nearly six years since we graduated from law school -- for weddings, baby showers, and our 5-year reunion last year -- but it had been almost a year since our last big get-together, so there was quite a bit of catching up to do.  Luckily, Elizabeth was able to score us a two-bedroom suite in her apartment building for the weekend, which facilitated our late night conversations perfectly.

Post-brunch on Saturday
It was a whirlwind trip, and all too quickly we were back at National boarding return flights to our respective homes.  I miss these girls and wish we lived closer, but I'll take what I can get.  Thanks for a great weekend, ladies!

So long, DC!
[Note: This post would not be complete without a very special shout-out to my husband for agreeing to wrangle all three of our girls BY HIMSELF for the entire weekend.  He's the best!]