The Fragility of Life



Yesterday, I was mourning the loss of a friend’s sister who died of cancer at the age of 44. She was a member of the U.S. Air Force and a veteran of Desert Storm. I did not know her well but remember her vibrant personality.

Then I got news of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Emailed my cousin to see if she was and her friends were OK. “There are reports of another suspicious device in Harvard Square, so we’re on lockdown. So terrifying,” she wrote.

When tragedy strikes close to home or far away, we can’t help but think about how fragile life is.

My girls are growing up and are no longer “babies” — Kaitlyn will start Kindergarten in September. A part of me wishes I could always be with them to protect them from the troubles they will face, like bullying and peer pressure.

Yesterday, I toured a summer camp in South Philly for Kaitlyn. She was on the wait list for two summer camps in the city but I didn’t want to take the chance and wait any longer. When I called the camp, the woman I spoke to said there were only 10 spots left. That was the kick I needed to lock a spot down.

I asked how the age groups were separated and was assured the 5- and 6-year-olds would play in their own room. But — all campers take the bus together two days a week for the trips.

So I got the camp spot for Kaitlyn yesterday (sigh of relief). My kids are sweet, innocent and happy. I hope they always stay that way regardless of what curveballs life throws them.

As a parent, you hope and pray tragedy and illness never strike your family. Every day, just show how much you love and care for them. And then — let them go and send them out into the world.

Erin Flynn Jay is a Philadelphia writer, public relations executive and mom of two girls. This post was adapted from her blog, Mastering the Mommy Track.

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