In early March we awoke to the news of an explosion in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. Greenwood is the neighborhood we used to live in, still not far from where we currently live. A neighborhood we still frequently spend lots of time in, a neighborhood my kids go to school in, a neighborhood we love.
Apparently there was a gas leak. Firefighters responded to search for the source of the leak and, while they were still looking, there was an explosion. Nine firefighters were sent to the nearest trauma center (luckily they were all cleared and sent home soon after). The explosion completely leveled Neptune Coffee, Mr. Gyro’s and a small convenience store. It also heavily damaged G&O Family Cyclery and blew out windows on buildings for blocks around. I shudder to think what the outcome would have been if the explosion had not happened at night. If it had happened in the morning, with dozens of families walking their kids to school down the road and hundreds of commuters going through that intersection on their way to work.
Since the girls go to school in the area, there was no avoiding telling them about the explosion. I let them know that no one was seriously hurt. That the firefighters all did their job exactly right and that’s why they were all okay, with just some scrapes and bruises and probably really scared. Zoey immediately wanted to do something to make them feel better, so I asked if she’d like to make a card for the firefighters.
One thing led to another, and soon my girls were making cards for each firefighter involved, and I extended an offer to both of their preschool classes: if the parents wanted to help their kids make cards as well, they could bring them to Zoey and Eleanor at school and we would deliver them to the firefighters. We ended up with a lovely bunch of heartfelt “Feel Better” cards to deliver.
On the day we delivered the cards, we stopped to pick up a bouquet of tulips to give the firefighters as well. We got to meet two firefighter’s from Seattle Fire Department station #21 and give them a bag full of cards and the flowers. They then invited the girls to see the fire truck, which of course they were super excited about.
We know our gesture was a small one, but the girls learned a lot about community through it. About caring about those who risk their lives for the rest of us. About showing compassion. About positive ways to channel their grief and fear. About coming together to show support for our home and our neighbors. I hope the firefighters felt just a little bit better as they looked at those lovely cards and smiled.