Thursday, September 11, 2008


I woke up so tired from crying and yelling and sobbing the night before. I was emotionally exhausted from hours of playing referee between my daughters and their new step-dad, each of my loves wanting me to take a side. My weariness was made even greater as I carried my growing baby in my belly down the stairs to read a letter out loud to my family. The letter was a cease fire request. It was also the first time I decided that I would no longer step between any of their arguments. They were, from this day forward, going to settle their discussions between themselves. It was the only way we were going to be able to be a cohesive unit without sacrificing my sanity.

Then I saw what I thought was a movie on TV.

Why was my husband watching a war movie at that hour? The girls were running late for school and I had to get out the door to work and here he was watching a movie. I was intent on getting us all together before we all left for our days. But what was this? (((Confusion))) I gripped the letter in my hand ready to speak to him about it. When he turned to look up at me as I descended the stairs, I saw the haunting look on his face that has never left my memory. It was the first time I saw an old man in his eyes. "We're being attacked!" I grabbed at my belly, stunned, and sat on the steps watching the insanity through the rails. (((Confusion)))

What kind of world was this baby coming into?

I looked at the letter in my hand. The letter that I was going to read out loud to my family to let them know that I would no longer be their conduit for problem resolutions. I thought about how responsible I had seen my daughters just the night before, but at that moment, I wanted to shelter them from the world more than anything. I looked at my husband who had just a year before been a carefree bachelor taking on the responsibility of a family. I felt the anxiety in his eyes and knew that I couldn't let him struggle with his new role. (((Confusion))) I looked again at the letter. I folded it back up... and never spoke of it again. Without saying a word, I promised them all... the girls... my husband... the new baby growing inside of me... I promised them all that I would be the glue to hold them all together... no matter what.

Boundaries no longer mattered.

My boundaries were gone. Just like the boundaries of our security. Never had our country been attacked on our own mainland soil. Never had we had innocent lives sacrificed in such a horrific way. Never had we all stood silent and watched it all happen in real time. Real time. Never had those two words been more raw. Real time. What was real to me at that moment was that the time that my children would be with me, they would be safe. I would make sure. Even if it became my obsession. Which it eventually did. My children saw the attack and looked to me for security. My husband saw the attack and looked to me for security. I was not going to let anyone down.

Seven years later, I know that there is nothing that any of us can do to keep any other human completely from harm. Seven years ago, I didn't care to hear about that reality. I just wanted to hold my family close to me and never let them get hurt. It's been a long seven years. Confusion. Sadness. Growth. And now...



*Side note: the company I worked for had a former VP on Flight 93. It wasn't until the following day that we found out about it. The local media came to interview all of his former colleagues. One year later, a memorial was placed at the base of the flag on campus. Todd Burnett is remembered each year on this day as a good guy who helped take a plane out of the control of monsters... no matter what the outcome.*


Lizzi said...

Beautiful post. Thanks so much for sharing. I linked you up on my list.

Rowena said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. I suppose there's no way to avoid reliving it today, if I'm going to be online.

It's okay. I think it's good to feel these things.

I wrote about my experience here.

Naomi said...

beautifully written sugar plum. beautifully written.

you're going to laugh at me, but I'll tell you anyway in case you needed a good laugh...when I started reading this, I thought, wtf?! she's pregnant? what?! then I got to the "we're under attack" part and said, "ohhhh." duh. I'm really losing it.