April 19, 2013 at 11:53 AM ET
I can't remember 5 days being packed with such emotion, anxiety and drama since 9/11, when I lived in New York. This is different. Now I have two kids; and am 11 weeks pregnant with my third, which makes me feel so much more vulnerable and powerless as this nightmare continues right outside my home.
5:15 a.m. It's Friday morning. I wake up to police sirens, and check my phone. It's full of news alerts, notifications and texts from friends over night. What happened?
5:17a.m. I wake my husband. What happened? He tells me there was an unrelated shooting at MIT last night. I read my phone again, turn on the TV and wonder if I should get dressed to go to the gym.
It's hard to believe that just 4 days ago, I was kicking myself for not taking time off with my husband to enjoy the best day there is in Boston, Patriot’s Day. Having grown up locally, this day has been near and dear to my heart my whole life. The morning of the Boston Marathon, I got a sweet text from my nanny who took my kids and my niece to cheer on the runners in Newton from the sidelines. I was proud my kids were carrying on the tradition of this awesome day. That pride immediately turned into panic and shock after hearing the news of the bombings. That afternoon, I pleaded with my husband to leave his office immediately and meet me at home. Now here we were again, in panic mode as news alerts poured in Friday morning.
5:20 a.m. The more I learn, the more my anxiety mounts as I realize all of this was going on while my family was sleeping, unaware and vulnerable. The shootout at MIT was related. In fact, the first suspect was killed along with an MIT police officer. There was a huge shootout in Watertown, the town directly bordering Newton, where we live. Anxiety mounts further. My kids are quiet. My house is quiet. Is someone downstairs? Did you turn the alarm on last night? No. Crap, race to turn the alarm on. Should I go to the gym and not let terrorists change my life? Or is that dumb? Anxiety. I watch the footage of the Watertown shootout and make the decision that leaving the house is dumb.
5:30 a.m. I ask my husband not to go to work in Boston. He says he definitely is going to get in his car and drive through Watertown to work. We fight about when to be a hero and when to not. Anxiety.
5:45 a.m. We get word that Watertown and all surrounding towns are on lockdown. Should I wake my kids and go to the basement? Anxiety.
Should I still fight my husband to stay home? Anxiety.
How will I shield my kids from yet another thing this week, when all I want to do is stayed glued to this horrible coverage? Anxiety.
6:00 a.m. I set up command central in my bed. The TV is on and I’m changing channels. The computer is on and I'm checking Facebook, Twitter and local news websites. My phone is on and I’m fielding texts and emails from worried friends and family. Many of my friends' husbands are out of town. We offer to pick them up and come to our house. Anxiety about leaving the house sets in. No one wants to leave. My husband and I make a pact. He'll go downstairs with the kids. I'll keep everyone posted with texts from command central. I settle down and watch the swarms of armed guards on TV, right by the Target I go to on most Fridays. Surreal.
6:30 a.m. The kids are awake. Their beautiful faces are refreshingly innocent, sweet and joyful. Our plan goes into effect. Anxiety wanes a bit.
10 a.m. I'm still here in the same spot. I realize my family is in the center of a war zone in our typically peaceful suburb. I’m hoping this nightmare ends soon. It needs to end soon.
The author's name has been changed in this story to protect her privacy.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.