I did not write a post on Sept. 11th. I didn’t really feel qualified to speak to all that changed with the unfolding trauma of that day. But the day is still on my mind.
Immediately after hearing the news, I cried, tried to reach my husband who was on travel in San Francisco, filled up my car with gas, got money out of the bank, and busied myself with seeing just how many krispy kreme donuts a pregnant woman could stuff into her mouth. So, while I might have set a world record that day in the donut-eating department, I am not exactly what you would tag as an “expert” on world events.
It is true that a little spider of fear left a cobweb dangling in the corner of my heart where it was never meant to be. But the biggest change for me is that I have simply become slightly more hesitant – but really I did not personally lose anything precious that day. I thankfully still have my family and my friends and my faith and my health and my freedom.
On this ten-year anniversary, I am surprised to say that Sept. 10th hit me harder than the actual anniversary date of Sept. 11th. On September 10th, I re-lived the live footage from that day with my son who is now in high school. We talked about those events and how we are still so desperately confused as to why they had to happen. He was curious about so many things and it was not easy to explain to a child why someone would choose to jump out of a skyscraper window. It is not easy to explain why it made sense for someone to fly a plane into a building knowing that he would never see his own family ever again. It does not make sense that someone could harbor so much hatred for people he doesn’t even know. We tried to understand – but even with a decade between us and that horrible day – there are still no answers. Simply because those decisions can not make sense.
Ten years ago, Bear was just 4 and Flower was 2. We were at the preschool meeting teachers for the first time when I found out what happened in New York. I was late in finding out what was happening because we had enjoyed a morning filled with Dragon Tales and Barney. We had the gift of not needing to know what was happening beyond the imaginary worlds of the cartoon dinosaurs.
I remember fiercely protecting my children from the news for the rest of the week – watching the stories about it only when they were sleeping. I remember, a few days later, feeling brave when some moms gathered in defiance of terror at a local playground – tired of being inside and tired of not knowing what to do. We brought snacks and laughed and watched our children play.
The anniversary brought back the overwhelming memories of an urgency to do something. Was being a stay-at-home mom enough? How could I contribute more? What would prevent this from happening to anyone else and what would we all learn from the monstrosities of terrorism? How could I keep my children safe? Was I fulfilling my complete purpose?
As that urgency faded, I comfortably settled back into my roles at home. With two young kids, a baby on the way, and a husband who traveled, it was a busy time and I easily distracted myself with daily routines. I slowly forgot to be nervous about world events and cozied right back up to the safety net of life. And sometimes I too easily forgot to be more thankful.
This year, I prayed on Sept. 11th for all the families who did lose precious people in their lives and then I celebrated Sept. 12th. The day we all moved on and moved forward and let our children play. It turns out that Sept. 12th is a much better day for donuts.