Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago...

Photo: Flickr/macten
We were living in Pittsburgh. I was living my stay-at-home life with the girls; nearly 1 and 4. I remember I was sweeping the front porch (something I'd been procrastinating for quite some time, so I was also mentally patting myself on the back) when the phone rang, and X told me the news.

The girls were watching some kids channel, and I didn't want to immediately change the channel.

I remember thinking about how devastated a friend (and mom) been during Columbine. Of course, this wasn't Columbine, but I remember thinking that I couldn't do it. I couldn't watch the news because I would become emotional and that couldn't be good for the girls.

Since we were living in Pennsylvania, I had a lot of phone calls that day, wondering about our safety. We weren't close to where that plane went down, but I appreciated all the people who thought of us and were relieved to know that we were just fine. They'd all want to talk about it, though. They'd tell me what they were hearing, but I didn't really want to know. I didn't want to feel it.

That night, after the girls were in bed, I took a deep breath and turned on the news. I watched for hours and wept, of course. I tiptoed in on the sleeping girls and gave them kisses.

The girls have only known a world where you take off your shoes at the airport. I now understand why people look at you differently  because you were born after Kennedy was shot. There are these events that forever separate the generations into pre and post. I understand the nostalgia that comes with that now.

As the girls grew older, I couldn't bring myself to tell them about 9/11. I couldn't figure out how to explain it to them because any explanation is lacking. They learned about it in school. At first, I felt bad about that, but now I'm okay with it because I know now I never would've been able to be the one that told them about it.

This wasn't a mere historical event for me. I felt 9/11. I may have staved it off for a few hours, but in the end, it was unavoidable. The girls will never feel 9/11 like I do. It's a date for them. They think it was sad, and they could watch the videos, but they don't feel the shock and devastation of it the way those of us that remember that day feel.

I wonder what difference it will make in how they see the world. Are they better for not knowing a world pre-9/11, forever being aware that someone could make anything into a weapon? Or are they missing some innocence and naivete that will hinder them? I don't know. I just know it can't be changed.

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