I slowly pulled myself up off the floor. legs numb. eyes blurry from staring at the screen in the dark. I knew he would need breakfast before I helped him gather his backpack up and then stood outside, as was our routine, on that crisp, cool morning to watch him get on the bus. Routine. Nothing was routine. I could hear her babbling in her crib. Talking to stuffed animals. She was always so good at entertaining herself. I stumbled into her room and lifted her out. Holding her tightly to me. Smelling her head. breathing in deeply. life.
She and I stood at the door and watched him run to the bus. Little boys run everywhere, don’t they? For just a moment I panicked. I wanted to shout for him to come back and spend the day here with us. Safe in our home. The world was not the same anymore. It had become a scary, fearful place. Where planes flew into buildings and crashed into fields. Where buildings fell to the earth in 12 seconds
and where selfless public servants (men like his daddy) died by the hundreds going into those buildings. Where our military is attacked at it’s very center. Where our government flees from the institutions that house it. I swallowed my words and I whispered a prayer over him into my sweet baby’s hair.
24 hours earlier. Coffee in hand. Barney on the TV. I log into my “Mommies Group” online. My friends. Tethered to each other over the internet. We had gone through our pregnancies and this first year of our precious babies lives together. We spent our days off and on chatting about raising children. marriage. life. A message pops up on my monitor…Hey Heather. Hey! Have you turned on the TV this morning? Um yeah..to Barney. You need to turn on the news. Okay??
A whimper of protest as the happy dancing dinosaur disappears from the screen. I would own the TV for the next week. Newscasters looking confused. Did I just see that right? Did I just see a plane fly into a building in New York?! Horrific. what a horrific accident! I peer at the screen. Trying to grasp what I have seen. It’s footage and they are playing it over and over. Live now. People panic. running in the streets. Reporter running with them while trying to capture the chaos. Then they pause. and look up. I stand in front of my TV in shock. I feel like I am standing on the street with them. I can’t breathe. They look up. I look straight ahead. We all watch another plane fly into World Trade Tower Two. Right in front of our eyes.
|Photograph by Patrick Witty
This is not an accident. This is not a random occurrence. We are under attack. I collapse next to my pajama clad baby. My eyes frozen on the screen. Trying to comprehend. Trying to find some rationale in what I am seeing. She crawls over to me. Patting my face and trying to get my attention. I pull her onto my lap and we sit. I sat. all day. all night. the blue light permeated our living room. I couldn’t NOT watch. I wanted to understand. There was no understanding.
10 years later. Our life has changed so much since then. The little boy is months from becoming a man. That sweet baby is a long legged, beautiful pre-teen. Their daddy spends his days now making sure 9/11 never happens again on his watch. It’s his job. It’s his passion. It’s our life. Our life. We get to live a life. A gift taken from so many on that day.
There are so many who are remembering. The television knows no bounds with the specials reflecting back on that day. Most are wonderful and respectful. Some not.
My blood boiled. Did I really just see that promo flash across the screen?! When pop culture SAVED America! Let me show you who did the SAVING on 9/11…
|Photograph by Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
These are the faces of those who helped save Americans on that day. I want to see their faces and hear their words. Not the words of some pop icon who was sitting comfortably in their home in the hills of LA on that day. I never want to forget who made the ultimate sacrifices that morning, who are still making horrific sacrifices with their health as they suffer the consequences of spending days and days at Ground Zero.
And on this Sunday of remembrance let us never forget who is our SAVIOR…He who brings peace that passes all understanding…
May We Never Forget….
P.S. This post is dedicated to my sweet online mommy friends who helped me get through that week and make sense of it all. You remind me everyday of all that is good in this world. Love you my friends.
*Attempt was made to acknowledge all sources of photography. If a photographed is not sourced and you know the source of the original photograph please let me know and I will list them.