Sitting in the glow of the TV late Sunday night, watching our president announce the death of Osama bin Laden, I searched for something to say to my 12-year-old on the couch next to me.
I didn't know what to say, but I knew it wasn't "USA! USA!"
I didn't feel elation, closure or relief. And I certainly didn't feel any safer. I just felt terribly sad, and a little fearful, at the thought that global hatred has defined the most important years of my daughter's childhood.
She was 2 ½ years old on 9-11, too young to remember the horror, the sadness and the anger. She doesn't know that I wore sneakers that morning so I could run better with her in my arms if another attack occurred closer to home in Miami. She doesn't remember that I stuck one of those mini American flags left over from a July 4 parade in the back pocket of her little jeans as we left the house for breakfast at the Latin American café in the Grove. But she certainly grew up seeing his face everywhere.
Osama was her generation's bogeyman. The enemy. Evil personified.
Yet when I sat with her watching the celebratory mosh pits at the White House and ground zero Sunday night, the first thing out of my mouth when I turned to her was, "It's not right to celebrate bloodshed."
Life is not a game. This is no Super Bowl with a winner declared on the scoreboard.
They say that character is how you act when you think no one is looking. But for me, at least in this moment, character is how you act when the whole world is looking.
When I watched our leader invoking death in the name of God and country, and heard the cheers and merrymaking in the streets by people drunk on patriotism, it only made me feel that we had become our worst enemy.
"Uh oh," my daughter said next to me. And she was right.
Was this a historic moment? Yes. Did Osama bin Laden deserve to be punished for the overwhelming loss of human lives in this country? Yes.
But does this put an end to the hatred that has fueled the last 10 years of war (and the past decade of my child's life)?
On Monday, the news reports were full of conflicting expert opinions about whether Osama's death will lead to the demise of al-Qaeda or reinvigorate further hatred and attacks. That isn't a question that makes me feel like celebrating, and it's certainly not one I want to leave for my children to have to answer over the next 10 years.