I was eighteen years old, and a senior in high school. I vividly remember standing in my pink bathroom and doing my hair, getting ready for school. My Dad was out of town on business, so it was just me and Mom. And then I remember hearing something that you didn't hear in our house in the mornings. The TV. And I remember thinking how strange that was, and why was my Mom watching TV? I walked into our family room and she was sitting on our ottoman, pulled up right in front of the television. I heard something about a plane crash, and my first though was about my Dad. I asked her what was going on and she looked straight at me and just said:
"We are being attacked."
After that it's blurry, the details have faded with time. I know she told me what was going on and we watched the news for awhile. I know she made me go to school, even though I wanted to stay home. I know we did nothing at school that day except watch the news. I remember the footage that actually showed people jumping/falling out of building, footage that since then has been eradicated from most of the documentaries. I remember hearing about the other planes, I remember tears and horror.
I was eighteen. I was sad and scared and horrified..... but at the same time I almost couldn't comprehend it. I know my heart ached as we watched people cry and beg and search for their loved ones; for husbands and children and wives. I was sad, but at that point in my life I could never fully, deeply understand the pain and grief all those people were going through.
Ten years later I have a husband. I have a two year old son who is so much a part of me that when he so much as bumps his head, it hurts me. I have another baby coming in seven short weeks who, even as I write this, is nudging and kicking and rolling; letting me know that he is there.
Ten years late, as I watched the footage and the documentaries and the remembrance memorials, my heart twist and I feel sick and it cuts so much deeper because I quite literally cannot even fathom the pain of losing what so many people did that day. Even at the thought of it my mind switches gears, shuts down, not letting me even imagine that horror. And suddenly I have a better understanding, because if even the thought of it can pierce so deeply, what must the reality of it be?
I want to shield L from all this. Even though he is to far to young to understand right now, part of me wants him never to have to see and know that this kind of evil, and this kind of pain, exists in the world. And the other part of me knows he has to know, and that this event will be apart of his history, albeit an abstract one. I want him to see how people came together that day, and in the days after, so he knows that we can overcome anything. I want him to be proud of this country, and he will be.
As a Mother, we want to shield our children from all of the pain of life. From the little things like a bully on a playground, to the unfathomable evils that unfortunately exist. But we can't. All we can do is teach them today. Teach them to love and to respect and to be kind. And we teach them by showing them. And hopefully, if we all teach our children these things, if we all teach them tolerance and acceptance and just to be nice to everyone around them, well, then maybe the world will be a much better place to live in as they grow up.
Do you remember where you were?