kelly had kissed me goodbye while i was still in bed after getting up several times during the night. after he left for work, i woke up, snuggled and fed my 2 and half month old baby girl. we took our time, bundling up to head to the car. i was attempting this whole 'work at home' thing, employed by a rebate fulfillment company, doing data entry on a DOS system, trying to decipher the minuscule names written on wrinkled rebate coupons. i wasn't loving it, but was giving it a shot. i had to pick up my assignment for the day before 9am, in a town called norwood young america, about a 10 minute drive away. claire and i drove along the country road, listening to the radio, humming along to a praise song. i was feeling particularly smitten with my baby girl that day. well, that day and every day.
as i pulled into the parking lot, i heard the dj say that a plane had just flown into one of the twin towers in new york city. i sat in the car, listening to the report as they asked listeners to pray regarding the horrible accident. i felt an ache in my stomach, shook my head and said a quick prayer. claire and i ran inside, dropping off yesterday's work and picking up hundreds of tiny little rebate coupons.
when we get back to car, they report that a second plane has hit the other tower and at that moment, i knew. this was not an accident. the ache in my stomach deepened. i drove home, with an urgency i couldn't explain. i pulled into the garage and grabbed claire's carrier from the backseat, leaving my work in the car. i ran to the tv and turned on the news. i saw it happen. once. then again.
i picked up the phone and called kelly at the office. i was feeling frantic. "have you heard what happened? have you seen the news?" he had no idea. i told him to find a tv. now.
i sat on the couch, holding claire. crying. i was scared. i stood, i paced. my fingers trembled as i switched the channels. i watched katie couric report on the events in shock and awe. claire slept soundly in her bassinet, blissfully unaware of the turmoil happening in our country. i was glued to the television, unable to pull myself away. the story unfurled throughout the morning. i kept waiting for another plane to go down. 2 more did just that.
we didn't live in new york or washington. or anywhere near, for that matter. still, i felt vulnerable, exposed and very raw. my body hurt from the tension it was feeling. i tried to eat, but couldn't. i tried to sleep when claire slept, but i couldn't. i tried to work, but i couldn't.
i wrote. i wrote a letter to claire, in an attempt to explain to her and to myself what had happened, even though i really didn't have a clue. i held claire tight. when kelly came home that evening, we watched television until we couldn't watch any more. we talked to family members. we cried. we wondered what would happen next.
evenings and mornings, and the moments that made up those times turned back into days. days turned back into weeks and months. we wore patriotic ribbons and listened to patriotic songs and were proud of our country.
i wrote more letters to claire, in an attempt to yet again explain. and to remember.
months turned into years, and the years gave us time to heal. our wounds were only superficial, as we did not feel the impact as deeply as many, many others. we memorialized and would count the years as they went by.
this year was different. this year, claire is 9 years old. claire is in 4th grade. yesterday in social studies, they talked about the tragic events of that day. they watched video and discussed the details in a way that they likely hadn't heard before. claire wept as she watched the tragedy unfold on the now archived video.
when we talked about it after school, i couldn't control my emotions. it hit me that the vicious actions that took place 9 years ago are still affecting my family in a very real way. my husband's brother is in afghanistan for this very reason. i am angry. i am somber. and i remember. like it was yesterday.