Saturday, September 10, 2011

Life Before...And After.

I'm sure you remember where you were that day. Don't we all? I was home from work that day. A rare occasion. I worked 50 hrs./week back then. Brendan, who was not yet two years old, went to Montessori School each day. But on September 11, 2001, he was home sick so I took advantage of the opportunity to snuggle with him while we watched The Disney Channel (his favorite at the time). We were blissfully unaware of the horror that was unfolding in our country.

My brother phoned and interrupted our peaceful morning with stories of planes crashing and buildings falling...and people dying. I quickly turned the channel and sat stunned as I watched the endless replaying of the footage of the World Trade Center crumbling to the ground. Then I called Mr. C at the office. I needed to hear his voice. He was as shocked as I had been.

All day long I sat, immovable, in front of the TV praying that everyone would come home safely. I distinctly remember one girl who was trying to find her Dad. As she looked into the camera, she said his name was David, and he wore a necklace with a letter "D" on it. She traced the D onto her chest as she described it. She was desperate to hear her father was alright. He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. We did not yet know that almost all of the employees of that company had perished in the attack.

What I remember most about that day though, was the feeling of complete hopelessness. My world was rocked, and not in a good way. I knew life would never be the same for any of us, and I was right. But, looking back, I can honestly say that some good came out of the tragedy. Do you know that the crime rate in NYC dropped significantly in the years following 9/11? People changed. Our attitudes changed. But, most of all, our values changed.

Up until that day, I had convinced myself that I was happy leaving my toddler for 50 hours each week while I worked in an office. I had convinced myself that my job was important, and that it was better for Brendan to spend his days at Montessori with other children than to be at home with no socialization. Even though he hated it.

Within six months of that fateful day, I had cut my hours to half-time, and pulled Brendan out of daycare completely. We began trying to have another baby. We began faithfully attending church as a family again. And we truly re-focused our energy back onto our family.

I still think of that young girl who was looking for her Dad, and I wonder where she is now. What has she become in the last ten years? I wonder if her heart has healed at all. I've prayed for her many, many times, as I have for everyone who lost someone that day.

That day changed everything for all of us. Fortunately, most of us have taken the opportunity to create something good from all of the bad, which means that terror didn't win...

love did.

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