No stories about my distant relatives today because my heart is too full with love and pride for my daughters to think about the past—though I realize and recognize that my daughters wouldn’t be who they are but for all those ancestors who came before them—all those who were brave enough and optimistic enough to take all those steps that made it possible for my children to be here. So forgive me for indulging today in parental pride as I bask in the glow of yesterday.
Yesterday was such an amazing day. Both of our daughters were at their very best. And as their parents, we were both excited and worried about how their days would go. Maddy was going to run her third Boston marathon (and her fourth marathon overall), and Rebecca was going to testify before a Congressional committee. How were we going to juggle both and be able to focus on each of them fully?
Well, fortunately Rebecca’s testimony was in the morning, and Maddy’s start for the marathon wasn’t until 11:15, so we were able to watch most of the Congressional hearing before Maddy even started to run. It was an exhausting but exhilarating day from start to finish.
Rebecca was asked to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the non-profit organization for which she is the executive director. The hearing was ostensibly called as a hearing to determine what could be done for the victims of violent crime in New York City, but as many of the Democrats on the Committee stated and as media outlets also recognized, it was actually called by the committee chair, Republican Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, as an attempt to intimidate and punish the Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg for his office’s prosecution of Donald Trump. Since violent crime rates are higher in many places, including Ohio, than they are in New York City, it was obvious that this was a set-up, not a good faith investigation of violent crime.
As Rebecca said in her testimony, if the committee and Congress were truly concerned about victims of violent crime, then they would be focused on taking actions to prevent gun violence. She stated:
“To make a significant change, we need bipartisan support in Congress to fight violent crime and make our communities safer. Congress can combat the national gun trafficking crisis plaguing New York City and the state by passing federal gun reform laws that are modeled after New York State’s. We need to close loopholes in the federal background check system, protect victims and survivors of domestic violence, strengthen extreme risk protection order laws, promote safe storage laws, crack down on ghost guns and hold rogue, reckless gun dealers accountable. Our federal, state, and local governments need to invest more in community violence intervention and prevention programs, invest more in housing, healthcare, and education. Our state and our cities need more funding for victim services. And Congress must support and fund federal law enforcement efforts to investigate gun crimes and hold the highest drivers of crime and gun trafficking accountable.”
You can see Rebecca’s full opening statement here.
Rebecca faced questioning by the members of the committee, both Democrats and Republicans, and was steadfast in her position and persuasive in articulating the position that it is the easy access to guns that leads to most violent crime, not the actions of a prosecutor’s office. Surrounded by other witnesses hand-picked by the Republicans to pursue their political agenda, Rebecca stayed calm, resolute, and professional. We couldn’t have been prouder.
Meanwhile, as we were watching Rebecca on my laptop, we were also keeping our eyes on our phones and the Boston Athletic Association app that allows people to track runners in the marathon. Maddy started the race at 11:18 am, and we began to track her progress. You can imagine our excitement and our stress—both daughters testing themselves in challenging and extraordinary circumstances.
Just as last year and the year before, we were staying at the Lenox Hotel in Boston where Maddy is now the general manager of the restaurants. She has worked there for over 16 years, starting as a host and working her way to the general manager’s position. She is passionate about the hospitality business, making sure that all guests receive the best service and feel welcome and appreciated whenever they come to one of the restaurants in the hotel. As we had lunch in one of those restaurants and walked through the lobby and stood outside to watch the runners crossing the finish line a few hundred feet away, over and over we heard from everyone, “We love Maddy.” From the servers in the restaurant to the hotel staff to the many “regulars” who eat there often, we heard how wonderful Maddy is to everyone.
And then, as we tracked the app and watched her progress, we stood outside in the cool and sometimes rainy weather, waiting anxiously to see her finish the race. We watched as she made her paces through Hopkinton, Ashland, Wellesley, Natick. We saw her pace slow a bit as she ran up and down the hills of Newton—the infamous Heartbreak Hill. And then we saw her gain speed again as she went through Brookline and finally crossed the Boston city line. My heart was pounding as I saw her turn right on Hereford Street and then left for the final stretch down Boylston Street. And then there she was, smiling, jubilant, and seemingly unfatigued by the 26.2 mile run.
And then there was the excitement of seeing her return to the hotel and the loud cheers and hugs and flowers and love that greeted her—not only by us, her parents, but by all those friends, co-workers, and guests who were there to cheer for her and support her.
What a day! These are the days that you dream about when you have children—the days that make all the worrying and hard work and sleepless nights worth it. The days that make you grateful for the gifts your children have given you with their passion, their love, their strength, and their commitment to being good and kind people determined to make the world better in many different ways.