On this 10th anniversary of 2001, it’s hard to escape the national and local commemoration that is happening. Today I went with Drew, Bug and Grandma Roz to the Town’s ceremony at the Freeman House marking the day. Apparently it was well done – I spent the time giving Bug a snack on the other side of the Town Green. Sure, I would have liked to hear how words and song were shared to continue to try and piece together the hole that was thrust into our national and individual fabric ten years ago; but I was also content sitting quietly as my daughter enjoyed food and fresh air on another blue-skied, September morning.
We all hope that there’s only a handful, if that many, of times in our lives when we experience pure panic. That morning in 2001, I was leaving my grad school class at Duke and checked my new cell phone to see I had three messages from a friend I was supposed to meet in a few minutes, at 9:30am. When I called him back, he immediately asked if my family in New York was OK. My stomach dropped. I ran the quarter mile to my department of public policy, where I found hundreds of people in silence watching the news in a lecture hall. That month was the first time I had gone over my cell phone minute allotment, as I spent hours getting busy signals trying to reach my sister in Brooklyn and family working downtown – including my New York City cop relative. Hours later, my family and friends were accounted for as the skies in North Carolina were silent.
Life evolves over time. Today and every day, I want to appreciate the good that continues to grow. For Bug, she is suddenly doing a lot of things that little kids – not babies – do. Gone are her bottles – it’s sippy cup or bust for her. And she wants to hear a “book” while she drinks her milk. She’ll spend nearly 30 minutes at her little table with crayons, putting them in and out of their cup while scribbling. She adores her new Radio Flyer covered wagon that we got for just $20 at the McLean Fall Community Flea Market yesterday. The other day she copied the sigh I gave her as she wriggled away from me on the changing table.
I am fortunate to have the people I love in my life. I wish peace for those who suffer from today’s memories, and I wish peace for all of us so that we can truly embrace these gifts that should take us a lifetime to enjoy.