Is it September 11th again already?
No matter how many years it has been, it still never fails to hit me.
My parents used say, "I remember where I was and exactly what I was doing when JFK was shot," and "when we landed on the moon" and it always bored me to tears. I never really listened and I never really understood the impact it must have had on their lives. Until, of course, our generation experienced 9/11.
Unfortunately, just as I was when my parents repeated once again where they were when John Kennedy was shot, my children will probably be bored when I tell the story. They will have no idea how much this event, this series of events, shook our world. Shook our confidence, our security, our trust in who and what we are and what we are all about. Shook us to the very core of our beings. They will have no idea. Because they will have grown up post 9/11. They will never know what it was like before.
I remember exactly where I was and exactly what I was doing. It is a boring story really, especially compared to the stories of the people who experienced true tragedy that day. But I'm telling it anyway.
O was just about 14 months old and I was already almost 4 months pregnant with Julia. We woke up early that day, early for us, because I had an appointment. In my usual fashion, the first thing I did when I came into the kitchen was to turn on NPR. How else was I to stay connected to the outside world now that I was a 14 month veteran of SAHMomdom?
I heard a few things on the radio that sounded odd. Very odd. But they didn't quite register in my brain. I was busy getting cereal and the like splattered all over my kitchen by my child. And I remember hearing the radio.
What's interesting is that the way I remember the day is that it was Terry Gross on the radio. Maybe there's something in my mind and in my memory that wants it to have been Terry Gross. Someone soothing like Terry.
But in retrospect, it probably wouldn't have been her. She was usually on in the afternoon and this was morning. This radio host had been interviewing someone live and was completely thrown off and seemed like she didn't know what to say. She sounded so strange and unsure of herself and her questions. And it was happening right then. During the interview. News of the events were continually rolling in and I'm sure they were getting bits and pieces of it as they were attempting to conduct this interview. IT. WAS. HAPPENING. RIGHT. THEN.
I vaguely remember leaving to go to our appointment. We had an appointment to meet with someone to discuss refinancing our mortgage. How mundane. I quickly got O dressed and we headed out in the car. By the time we got to the loan office, I sort of realized what was happening---though "realizing" is quite an inaccurate way to describe it. It was still very blurry and undefined. Then, in the waiting room of the mortgage company, I heard a few people say things like, "You know it was those damn Middle Easterners. They hate us, you know" and things like that. And I wondered, "Could this be true?"
O, of course, was oblivious to it all. On the way out of the office, she explored a small landscaped area and fell and hurt her knee. She had that cut and the resultant scar for months. Months. And it always reminded me of 9/11.
It wasn't until we were home and I was smart enough to turn on the TV and see pictures, that I fully realized what had happened. Could this have happened? Did this really happen? What's going to happen now? I found myself talking to the TV. Yelling. Crying. I called a few people on the phone. We cried. We speculated. We wondered why it happened. We cried. Then back to watch on TV and stare and stare and cry and yell for hours. How could this have happened?
It was definitely a day I will never forget. No one will ever forget.
Sit a spell, young child of mine, and let me tell you about it. And don't go telling me you are bored, child. Because we will never be the same.