I’ve done my best to avoid the TV coverage of the Manchester concert bombing this week. As the parent of daughters the same age as many of the victims, the visuals are too much for me. It’s easier to listen to the coverage on NPR.
My heart aches for the children who lost their friends, for the parents who lost their children and the children who lost their parents. At least four of the parents were waiting to pick up their children. They were waiting right outside the stadium after an evening of some worry, I’m sure. It’s hard to let our kids go off into the world without us. We don’t like it.
I’ve been there — dropping my daughters off at movies, malls and concerts, pushing away the fears of what-if. I’ve repeated the safety instructions dozen of times to eye rolls and “I know, Mom, I know.”
I tell them again anyway.
“Don’t use the bathroom alone, stick to the sides to the sides of the crowd and out of the mosh pit, don’t forget to drink water. Stay aware and text me if you need anything.”
“I will Mom.”
“Text me when you get inside and when the concert is over. Do you have your phone charger? Meet me right there, and and don’t leave this spot. I’ll be there.”
“Yeah Mom, I know I know.”
I know they know, but it makes me feel better to say it.
I’m sure versions of this same conversation were repeated over and over by the parents who dropped their children off at the Ariana Grande concert. None of it mattered.
I can’t imagine Manchester, but I can.
I don’t want to imagine Manchester, but I do.
Saying my heart aches for these families seems inadequate. I don’t know what to do, but this: Listen to the families who lost loved ones, if and when they’re ready to talk. Help them if we can. Spread kindness. Hug my kids a little tighter. Be thankful for every moment we have together. And continue to let them go out in the world even though we know it’s not completely safe.
Did you see the stories about the homeless men who ran into Manchester Stadium to help the victims?
Children’s television host Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) said, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
They don’t always look like we think they do.