Posted by mwallach on May 2, 2011 in My Kids, New To You, New Yorkers |

Dear That’s Life,

It was one of those moments that you will always remember where you were when you heard the news.

The death of Osama bin Laden is a triumph of good over evil, a victory for the United States and those who fight with us, and a moment of comfort for all those who lost loved ones on 9/11. It is in their memory and in their honor that the search for bin Laden never ended.

By the end of the day, we will all have watched so much footage and commentary that the line between our own original thought and that which we have heard or seen is completely blurred, making it impossible to distinguish one from the other. I already do not know if I have anything unique or original to say. I can tell you, however, that when my son briefly climbed into bed with me last night after a bad dream, I hugged him a little tighter and held him a little longer. Not living in a fantasyland, I do not believe evil as a whole was eradicated yesterday by a group of highly trained and incredibly brave Navy Seals who had the opportunity to do something many of us wish we could have done, and then could do again. For the moment, however, I will sleep more soundly and put my children on the bus with a little more ease. Just for now, I will take a deep, but brief, breath. I encourage you to do the same. We have earned it.

In the past ten years, our family has grown and I have wondered aloud about bringing more lives into an already scary world. I cannot watch them all day long and there are times when leaps of faith must be taken. I remember being completely frightened one Friday night after 9/11, a picture of bin Laden on the front page of the paper after a new message of his had been released, promising further destruction in the U.S. and calling for the annihilation of Israel. What was to stop bin Laden from following through on another attack on New York? After all, wasn’t he talking to me? I was scared and I cried.  However, we do not live lives of fear, as they would not be lives worth living. Take precautions, be aware and keep your wits about you – but at the end of the day, just live. And so I did.

This morning, I proudly displayed our American flag we usually keep for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. My son came downstairs to have breakfast and I explained what had happened. Bin Laden represented true evil, I said, and he hated Jews as much as, or even more than, he hated Americans. We are both, I said, and as such, we celebrate twice. I ended my brief explanation and awaited a response. He listened and understood as I compared bin Laden to Hitler today being Yom Hashoah, making these events even more moving. Usually not a morning person and often very grumpy at 7am, my fifth grader’s frown turned to a toothy grin when I told her about bin Laden’s death. As if in victory, she raised her arms to the sky and, with a smile that could have lit up the darkest night, screamed, “YAY!”

As many of us struggle to express exactly what we are feeling, leave it to a child to find just the right word(s) to say.


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