I repost a variation of this post every year on the anniversary 9/11. This year, it's not just for my girls, but for my sweet little boy, too.
In reposting this, I realized that my girls have never actually read this (or any post on my blog for that matter.) They have also never known a world without the US being in a war. During President Obama's acceptance speech last week, Bunny finally asked what happened on 9/11 and we paused his remarks so I could explain. After our discussion, she was somber. When we resumed watching the speech, she had a different look on her face. A more thoughtful look, like she was weighing what the president was saying a little more carefully. I will show this post to her tomorrow.
For my children in rememberance of Heather Ho.
On September 11, 2001, I was one month away from conceiving you, Bunny. My biggest priority at that time was creating our family because we had tried for almost a year to get pregnant with you. Who knew that during a time of such immense sorrow, when people everywhere retreated to the safe, warm cocoons of their homes, we would create you?
Up until that day, your father and I and everyone else in the world was living in a dream. When I say "dream" I don't mean that everyone's life was full of lollipops and rainbows and that there was no sadness and no one struggled. I say a dream because now, eleven years after that day, the world is a very difference place. I'm sad about this. I might always be, a little bit. It's because I mourn what happened on that day, but I also mourn times past. The world wasn't always like this. Our lives, all of our lives, will never be the same again.
Something very bad happened on that day.
I'm not trying to scare you, my loves. I want you both to know that I will try to shelter and protect you from evil, bad things for as long as I can. But soon you will be big, and you will begin to understand the world around you. (You are already there.) I hope that you will look at it and always see the potential for good. Despite the fact that our world today is different from the time before September 11, 2001, I still believe in possibility. In the inherent goodness of people. In peace. Bunny, Wallie and little Dash, it's up to you and those of your generation to forge ahead and try to mend this shattered world. Or least pick where we left off.
It wasn't wasn't always like this.
There was once a time when I could sit on a plane without furtively scanning the faces of everyone boarding, feeling nothing but shame for doing so.
In fact, there was a time when we never had to take off our shoes to get on a plane and we could take all manner of liquids and gels on board. Also, pilots used to sometimes come out of the cockpits and walk up and down the aisles to stretch their legs. I used to love seeing them, and I especially loved when one of them was a woman.
There was once a time when I would be able to sit in a crowded theater and not think, "Look at all the people in here...together, in one place... What if...?"
There was once a time when I could walk into my favorite restaurant and didn't have to watch the owners regarding me with sadness behind their eyes, wondering if I was one of those people who thought they were bad.
There was a time when I didn't have to be the first person to walk up to the woman wearing a hijab and abaya at Back-to-School night and give her a warm handshake and tickle her baby's toes (something I would have done anyway) to distract her from the rude stares and whispering.
There was a time when I didn't have images of big planes flying into big buildings and people holding hands falling from windows and distraught loved-ones clutching photos and pregnant widows etched into my memory forever. Who could even imagine such horror?
There was a time when I didn't have to think about what the last moments of a talented pastry chef who just moved to New York from San Francisco to work in a restaurant high in the sky must have been like.
There was a time when 2,700+ people from 90 countries were alive and well and their families and friends were whole.
There was time when I didn't worry so much.
That time ended eleven years ago today. That time—no matter how hard times were—was like a beautiful dream to me. And, my loves, I so wish you could have known it.