What were you doing, 6 years ago, when the towers fell and life as we knew it changed forever?
I was in my room, playing with my (then) almost 4 yr old Sean. He had been asking me all week long about planes, and what would happen if they accidentally hit something. Strange questions, I thought, but I had tried to explain to him in terms he could understand that having a plane hit something would be very, very horrible. As we were playing together that morning, I remember the DJ on the Christian radio station coming on the air and asking all the listeners to please pray for what seemed — at that point — to just have been a terrible accident at the World Trade Center. I got up and turned on the television, only to see the first Tower on fire. I started crying and Sean came in asking, “What’s wrong, Mommy?”
“Oh sweetie… remember when you asked me about airplanes hitting a builing? Well, there was a really bad accident, and a plane hit this building, and now it’s on fire…”
We were both sad and I said that we needed to pray for the people who had been hurt…
and then the second plane came in.
It was at that moment that the sickening realization that this was no accident finally registered in my head, and I remember dropping to my knees in front of the television and just crying out, “Oh God, have mercy!”
As devastated as I was, I knew I had to get my children away from the television, because they did not need to be exposed to things like this. Seeing me freak out was VERY upsetting to the kids, and so I tried to pull it together as best as I could, explain to Sean (who had seen that second plane come in) that some bad people had done something horrible, pray for all those involved, and then try to regain some sense of normalcy for their sakes. We turned off the TV and I tried to read them some stories and play with blocks.
Even with just that brief image, however, Sean talked and talked about “planes hitting big towers” for weeks to come. He kept building tower blocks and having a plane come in and destroy it.
He asked about the terrorists, and if Jesus loved them too.
He asked if the terrorists were in hell because they did something so bad.
He asked if we were supposed to love bad guys like the terrorists.
Over and over again I watched my sweet little almost 4 yr old struggle with this first real blow to his complete innocence… and I struggled with the raw, gut-wrenching fear known only to mothers as I realized that I CAN’T protect them from everything. As much as I want to be able to wrap my arms around them and shield them from all the dangers that surround us, I can’t. It is devastating to come to the realization that so little is actually in our control.
All I can do is pray, love them deeply, and be thankful for today.
Peggy Noonan wrote a wonderful article on 9/11 last year that I wanted to share with all of you. Please pray, hug your kids extra tightly today, and never forget.
h/t The Happy Catholic and her 9/11 Tribute