Coming Around Again

become a part of the solutionIt wasn’t until I went to type this post that I realized here we are again: September 11. For so many the horror of that time seems like yesterday, rather than so many years ago. It made me stop to think.

How did that event change your life?

The deepest change for me was in my inner picture of my ability to protect my children. I had long fought off the horrible things that come to mind when you worry about your kids. For me it started in utero. Would my baby be healthy? Would she be smart? Then as an infant there are all those troublesome thoughts about falling and swallowing things.

The worst for me was the first field trip. I wanted to drive behind the bus, just to make sure the driver was safe.

As we watched the events of September 11 unfold, we were in the processes of getting ready for school and work. Hectic family morning, you know those. Everyone zipping around, breakfasts, lunches, schedules. We were quickly paralyzed in front of the TV – I was standing on the stairs between the kitchen and the family room – as we watched.

Panic. The end of the world. If this was happening in New York, what was happening in other parts of the country? What about my family in the bay area?

But it is what happened later, after we had watched, that sticks with me. My husband was ready to continue with our day. He was heading for work and expected the kids to go to school.

I was still in panic mode. “No way,” I said “This family stays right here in this room, together, until we know what’s going on out there.” In my mind terrorist were going to attack our local high school. My daughter wouldn’t be there. But there was even more than that fear in my heart. What if everyone else, normal folks, community members went crazy?

Because that is what it felt like to me – the world had gone crazy. Every thing that reassured me about my life had disappeared in a flash. How would I keep my kids safe from a world that no longer fit with the rules of human behavior that lived in my mind?

That is the change I live with. I fought it, because once details of what had happened came to light, I told myself that to be scared was to let “them” win. I don’t walk around in fear, but I do walk around saddened. I am saddened by the numbers of people out there who are so quick to be angry, to fight, to kill others. I am saddened that we can’t see past our differences, look instead at our similarities, and show compassion and empathy toward others. I am saddened that my children have to live in this kind of world and that I can’t keep them safe from it.


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