This is the first time since 2001 I am not watching towers being knocked down. It was all over the news in 2001 and 2002 . You couldn't avoid it and I didn't try. I had an 11 month old in 2003. His favorite game was have me build towers from our soft blocks so he could knock them down. That is what I spent Sept 11 2003 doing. Sept 11 2004 was spent overseeing a game where Havoc built towers of blocks for Mayhem to knock over. We moved operations to the sand box for 2005 and 2006. They were Legos in 2007. It's not that my kids have some weird affinity for building towers on Sept 11. They were building towers and knocking them over with regularity for months before and after. It just...on that one day...it stood out. I couldn't watch them without thinking about it. Twin towers made of sand ceasing to exist with a deliberate sideswipe of a little hand.
It hurt to watch and remember. It hurt that the connection existed to be made. My little toddlers, playing toddler games that I couldn't watch without thinking of death & destruction.
"Why are you crying Mommy?"
"it's ok sweetie. It's complicated. Mommy is ok."
I couldn't tell them. They wouldn't understand. They would only get that something bad happened once and mommy was upset thinking about it. That would upset them and scare them & I didn't want that. Every year this rolls around and I think I should explain. I should tell them what it meant to me and to others. But I can't tell them about the terrible things human beings are capable of doing without also telling them about the wonderful things human beings are capable of doing. I don't want them to be afraid. I want them to have hope. Problem is, I feel a bit short in the 'wonderful things' category. Yes there were those very brave people on that plane and those wonderful police & firefighters. But I don't want to tell them a story where everybody dies. I want to tell them the world is a better place now. That is is over and done and they don't need to be afraid. But I can't Because it isn't.
I was born in 1967 while this country was being torn apart with race riots in major cities and protests against the war in Vietnam escalated as the did the war itself. Less than a year after my birth Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. I'm sure my parents were hoping the issues would all be over & done with and the world a better place by the time I was old enough to understand. Better? Possibly. Over and done with? No. I don't think so.
It's been 40 years since those days and there is no closure to them yet & I don't really think there can be. When people believe in something that strongly on either side, they don't let go. When they hate you, really hate you, just for existing, they don't stop. There is nothing you can do to make them stop, because they hate and fear you that much. I have to acknowledge that won't likely be a happy ending to the story of 9/11 that I can tell to my children.
Havoc is 6 now, Mayhem 5. They don't build & knock down towers much any more, so today I'll be spared making a new association. But maybe today is the day I will start to tell them the story.