I know, I know. I am woefully behind in my posting. All eleven people who read this are distraught over this fact, I'm sure. It's just that I have three kids at three different schools, I am working part-time and failing to get things done full-time and seriously fall into my bed drooling in a half-sleep coma. I'll get there. Or at least I keep telling myself that. I'm tired, I keep exercising with no discernible results, I feel terrible when I snap at my kids, my sister gave us a dog as a present (THANKS JENN I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE) who is a sweet loving rescue dog but doesn't quite get that YOU DON'T POOP IN THE HOUSE. Also, I have been potty-training Jack at the same time, so I feel like my life swims in smelly bodily functions and I am terrified my house will have that "Oh, you must have a dog" smell. On top of that, we had a house under contract and it just fell through last week. I haven't had my own house for seven years, and I've had all my hopes and dreams pinned into this house. It was a house we normally couldn't afford but was being sold as a short sale, and I have mentally decorated the whole house and raised my children there again and again. Devastated is not the word for it. I feel like someone dangled a carrot in front of my face -- "Oh look! You can have a house! And not a crap house, a house you really want! Oops! Kidding!! Go back to your rental, loser!" I know, I'm whining but I gave myself one week to be sad and mad and kick rocks across the street.
So of course, there is nothing like the anniversary of September 11th to put things into perspective. I have been teary for a whole week, watching documentaries on the National Geographic Channel, watching various clips of the footage, and all the memories come rushing back.
On that morning I had one child, and she had just turned one. Remembering that fact has caused me to feel as if the wind has been knocked out of me. It doesn't feel that long ago, but this is the proof--my eleven-year-old in the room above me! Early in the morning my sister told me a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, and I didn't think much of it, picturing a little prop plane that had some sort of accident. I remember later watching the television with tears on my face and in shock, and Emma happily playing with her toys in front of me, not a care in her life, not understanding that the entire world had just changed. My husband still worked in an investment management office, which worked closely with Cantor Fitzgerald. I remember his shock at finding out most of the company had been wiped out, people he had dealt with frequently were gone. I remember him calling me and saying "Quick, run outside on the lawn! You can see Air Force One pass over!" We live about 45 minutes from the airport from which the huge jet lifted. I remember the days that passed by with no airplanes in the air, except for the occasional jet from MacDill Airforce Base. The first anniversary was hard, the fifth seemed to come so quickly, and now here we are, five years later.
I watched the Flight 93 dedication on Saturday while I straightened my (woefully messy) house. I thought Presidents Bush and Clinton did a lovely job with their talks and I was very touched by the whole thing. I also get tickled when the former presidents hang out together, familiarly touching each other and laughing about some inside joke we'll never get. I always think it must be a relief to be a former president; no more political pressure and bickering. You can just hang out and give your Secret Service men/women a hard time.
But I digress. I have challenges like so many, I have sorrows and joys like so many. I have my own personal struggles that no one will ever know, like so many. I hope for the ones left behind from this tragedy that they can find some measure of peace and comfort. I hope they have known joy again. I hope they can know that love does not end; family does not end. I appreciated what Leon Panetta said yesterday-- forgive me if I cannot remember the exact wording but it went something like this: "The attack was supposed to make us weaker, but instead it made us stronger." I really believe this. I hope I can apply this wisdom to my own life.
Tonight when I say my prayers I plan to focus on gratitude. Gratitude for the family and friends I have, all the good people in my life who help me to be better. Gratitude for my blessings, for my good fortune, for my experiences which have made me stronger, kinder, more compassionate, more humble. Life is progression, or it should be, anyway. Forgiving ourselves for not always measuring up, forgiving ourselves and moving on. And lastly, I have deep gratitude for those on September 11, 2001, who left us with such a legacy of love, selflessness, and dedication.
And I have gratitude for you, all eleven of you!