I remember exactly where I was when it happened....everyone does. Carlos was in St. Louis for work. I was scheduled to fly out and join him for a little vacation that weekend. I was settling down in my Anatomy class when someone rushed in and told us to turn on the TV. I sat in horror watching what was happening. The classroom was filled with gasps and tears. I called Carlos immediately but couldn't get through to him on his cell phone. I felt panic. I had just found out I was pregnant a week before. My stepbrother had just finished basic training and was shipping out to the middle east. After an hour or so of watching with my classmates I went home. I went home to our empty apartment that was eight hours away from anyone else I knew. I eventually reached Carlos and we were both too stunned to do much more than say "I love you". I spent the day on the couch watching the TV. I spent the day sobbing. I ended up calling my OB, who I had yet to even see, because my heart was racing and I had a killer migraine. He called in a prescription for me that was safe to take while pregnant. I curled up on the couch and slept. When I woke up I felt sure that it had all been a nightmare, but turning on the TV quickly confirmed that it was not. Needless to say, I did not get on a plane that weekend and fly to St. Louis. The following week when Carlos flew home from St. Louis I was a nervous wreck. I was so happy when he called me from the airport and told me that he had landed safely.
Fast forward several months....Carlos was in NYC for work. I decided to fly up and join him for a long weekend. I was almost six months pregnant. The entire flight I was a nervous wreck. I was glad to land at JFK and climb into a cab. I spent four days in NYC only months after 9/11. I am not a city person by nature. I don't enjoy the crowds or the noise. However, spending that time in NYC was so soothing to me. NYC had picked itself up and dusted itself off. People were living their lives. Seeing native New Yorkers doing their thing made me feel better. It grounded me.
Every year on this date I remember all of that. Last year I finally decided my children (the oldest two) were old enough to really learn about what happened on September 11, 2001. We spent an entire day discussing it. We watched the news footage from that day. My girls were horrified and sad. They cried a bit. We all cried and held on to each other as we prayed for our country and all those victims.
Today, we discussed it again. This year, Lily, joined our discussion. Again, there were some tears. My girls were saddened by what we discussed. We even made a little craft in memory of 9/11/01.
Here's the thing though. My girls know what happened on that day but they didn't live it. I am glad of that. I lived it and the events of that day will haunt my soul for eternity. I spend a significant part of this day each year in tears. It's impossible to remember and not cry. Looking at this photo of my sweet smiling girls holding their little flags with images of the twin towers just brings me to my knees. I am so grateful that their innocence is still intact. I am so grateful that, while they understand what happened, they don't carry it with them the same way so many of us do. I hope and pray that they never experience a tragedy like this that scars them deep down.
We prayed together this morning. We prayed for the victims. We prayed for the victims families. We prayed for the firefighters, police and all the first responders of that day. As we were wrapping up our prayer, Lily prayed asking God to give extra hugs to all the people in heaven because of what happened. I know God heard her prayer and I am sure he is busy wrapping his arms around all of the victims of September 11, 2001.