We spent yesterday, 9/11/11, like most American families. We watched the memorial services at Ground Zero, reflecting on the horror and sorrow of 9/11/01. We teared up many times, and we (awkwardly) tried to explain the meaning of the day to our 4-year-old daughter, born six years after that terrible attack on our country.
But we also had our usual Sunday morning breakfast of bagels and juice. We did the laundry. We mowed the lawn. We went to the grocery store. We went on with our lives.
I thought about the past 10 years and how my life has changed. I was 23 on 9/11/01, just beginning my life as an adult. I was unmarried, living in New Jersey and working on a political campaign. That summer I began dating my future husband, who lived in Brooklyn. I visited him on the weekends and started to become familiar with NYC.
On the Sunday night before the world changed, which would have been 9/9/01, G and I visited the Brooklyn waterfront for a slice of pizza at Grimaldi’s. After dinner, we walked down to the East River and looked towards Lower Manhattan. “I thought this skyline was so amazing the first time I saw it,” I said, gazing at the glittering lights of the Twin Towers. “Now I just take it for granted.” As we walked away, I looked back over my shoulder to see the towers for what would be the last time.
In the past 10 years, I moved to New York City, got married, bought a house in Brooklyn and gave birth to two beautiful girls. I lost my father and one of my grandmothers. I faced personal challenges that I never could have imagined. I stopped smoking, started eating healthier and exercising more. I now work for a public relations firm and enjoy writing in my mom-blog.
My life is very normal (thank God), but 10 years ago, I didn’t have any assurances that it would turn out this way. Ten years ago, I was a rolling stone, moving around the country to work on political campaigns, pretty much alone in the world. I didn’t know I would someday have this beautiful family, live in this neighborhood or have this career. I’ve been so lucky to be this blessed.
Which got me to thinking about the next 10 years. I have no assurances about what’s going to happen next. Our family — my life’s treasure — may face challenges that none of us can imagine right now. It’s likely that we’ll have our share of hard times and sorrows, but also good times and happiness.
I think what I’ve taken away from this 10-year anniversary of 9/11/01 is to be grateful for my blessings, to strive to live in a way that is worthy of those blessings and to teach our girls to do the same.
And I’ll pray that on 9/12/21, I can write a very similar blog post to this one.