September 11, 2001.
As I remember the terrorist events of the day and the pain it caused our nation, I can’t help but remember what was going on in our lives. I had an 11-month-old baby. I was also nine-months pregnant with baby #2 and ready to deliver any day.
It was the first time in the white-picket-fence dream of my life that I realized we lived in a very real world. A world that is affected by reality. And sometimes when reality hits, it hits hard.
At the time I was married to a police officer. For the first time in my life, I faced the fact that there was the possibility I would be raising my kids alone. Widowed. Without a husband.
The next 48 hours were rough. My ex-husband had to work around the clock….even on his days off. The city pretty much went into lockdown mode. Every time the news came on, I cried. The false labor pains got worse with each tear. And my poor baby — the 11-month old — was so sweet, yet unphased by all of the events in our country. I couldn’t help but look into his big brown eyes and wonder what kind of world was I bringing children into.
Like many, I had friends in New York and Washington, D.C. who I tried to contact. I finally reached everyone I needed to reach and made sure they were okay. And they all were. We were lucky.
In so many ways, the events of those days changed my thinking. But I also think it may have been the wake up call I needed.
I needed to know that anything, anything could happen to my dream marriage.
I needed to know that raising children is harder than changing diapers and tickling feet.
I needed to know that the false labor pains so many women experience during the latter stages of pregnancy were only the beginning of several years of experiencing pain and heartache from wearing my heart on my sleeve when it comes to the love I have for my children.
I needed to know that there are mean people in the world. Really mean people.
And I definitely needed to know that I was going to have to talk to my sweet, sweet babies about terrorism, tragedy, and racism.
And it’s still hard to think about, even though it is a reality of the world we live in… 14 years later.
What have you learned since the tragedies of September 11?