|Image from: http://framework.latimes.com/2012/07/19/world-trade-center-july-1986/|
September 11, 2001: It was a regular ol' morning during my former life. I had recently decided to go back to college starting in late August 2001. I was a young mother with two sons ages three and one. I was still with their father at this time, living in a tiny two bedroom apartment in a not so great part of town. I considered myself an average American and still do. Just living life, day by day, hoping for the American Dream someday.
My long time boyfriend was already gone for the day, either at school or at work, I really don't remember. My boyfriend's brother's on again off again girlfriend came over in the morning to watch our sons while I went over to the local community college for my morning Biology class. I was, of course, too busy to turn on the television in the mornings. I drove to school listening to a CD in my car instead of the radio. Arriving at school just before class began, I cut straight through the courtyard and into the Science building without stopping in the cafeteria for my usual morning cup of cheap coffee. Class began at 9:00 AM. I remember my professor was just a couple minutes late. Hindsight has me guessing he had just found out about the attacks in New York and kept his poker face on for us, the students, keeping us in the dark for almost two whole hours so we would concentrate. Class was done right around 11:00 AM and I swung by the cafeteria before I headed home.
It was not even lunch time yet but the room was completely packed...and nearly silent. The chairs were full and all pulled up near the televisions. Students and staff sitting completely still and staring open mouthed up at the screens. I stepped closer, tentatively, to see what the big deal was. I remember feeling nervous in my stomach. It didn't take long to catch on. The news channel just kept playing the footage over and over from different angles. I only stood there for a couple of minutes and each time they showed the planes hit the buildings all I could think was that they were showing us people dying, over and over. Those buildings had been full of life. Everyone had already shown up for work that morning. I was instantly nauseous. Usually, in a situation like that I would change the channel, wait to read the news story or forget about it all together. I prefer not to watch people or children or animals being hurt in any way if I can avoid it. I do not condone it's excessive coverage and try not to support these kinds of stories in any way. But this day...this day was different.
I didn't stick around to eat and study in the cafeteria that day. I got in my car and drove home to my babies as fast as I legally could. I turned on my own television and was slowly educated on the tragic events of the morning. I hugged my babies more than usual. I was consumed by the news for the rest of the day, into the evening and then the wee hours of the next morning. I cried off and on. I didn't know anyone involved. I was crying for the strangers lost, the families left behind and the new world we were sure to be heading into. Far away news stories don't usually effect me like that. Still, I cried for my own children and for the unpredictable world I raise them in.
Fast forward thirteen years. Does that event still effect me? Yes. Yes it does. Today is the anniversary. If I had my way today, my family and I would be hiding. I would have asked my husband to take the day off of work. I would have kept all of the children home from school. We would have stayed home and had a nice day together, hiding away from the world and it's hideousness at times. But that is no way to live. I can't live that way. I would never make my family live that way. I do not feel like this every year but the world is still not at ease. Especially in recent months. ISIS claims that they will be here soon. They may or they may not. They may be here already. Any which way, I must go on with everyday life. I will not project unhealthy fear onto my family. I will not allow the bad guys of the world to have that power over me. It is truly out of my control. But, I am a mom and surely not the only one who has crazy thoughts now and again, however out of our control the situations may be. We lay awake at night and think of everything. Everything.
So, why bother sharing my insignificant 9/11 story? Because I am convinced that I am not alone. I am not the only American mom or parent that has thoughts like these. Not the only one who lays awake at night hoping and praying that my children never have to experience a day in the world like 9/11. I am not the only one who on a day like today almost doesn't let go of the child they are about to send away on the school bus, off into this crazy world that keeps us on our toes. And definitely not the only one who counts down the minutes until their children and their significant other makes it home at the end of the day, unscathed and unchanged. I just choose to write about mine as it helps me get through days like these.
So, in remembrance of those lost and those effected, here's to you and to us and to them. I will never forget.
(Note: The photo I chose for this post was not from that day but still represented what I wanted it to.)