So I’m having a long week full of bad colds and little sleep and some self doubt, but it’s Friday, so chill, NP,and also it’s September 11 and so it’s time for reflection, not bitching.
Sometimes I need to talk myself down. Thanks for listening.
Last week I was in NYC, which was altogether lovely, and one of the outings I took myself on was to go visit the September 11 museum and memorial.
It’s big and open and airy, and it made me cry a little and walk slowly and think harder. I remembered how scary it felt and how uncertain we were and how strange it was the day after when all the planes were grounded and I looked up and there was nothing but sky. How the first time I did hear a plane my heart leapt into the back of my throat until it passed and nothing terrible happened.
I was seventeen and transplanted to the Midwest from the Northeast and it was scary enough from there.
In the museum there was also a lot of history of the Twin Towers, tickets from the ride to the observation floor (I rode the elevator up with a boy I liked very much once), advertisements from the Marriott (I stayed there and loved every second), and I felt like it was a good way to remind everyone about what an ordinary part of life the buildings were Before.
I did not know anyone who died on 9/11. I was safe in a choir room in Michigan when the planes hit. But everything changed and the museum was a reminder of how even though the events are politicized, debated, remembered, etc., at the core of it they were intensely, heartbreakingly personal to so many people.
In ways I am lucky enough not to know.
My best moment though, was walking through an open area full of benches for visitors who just needed a moment to rest or reflect. I heard a couple of children laughing loudly, and my first instinct was to tsk in my best mom voice because of the solemnity of the space, but chickens, I caught myself.
That it’s over a decade later and we can listen to our babies laugh means we’re not beat yet.
I like to think that the parents who left their kids that day would have wanted them to laugh again, because honestly, what else is there?
There’s always a lesson you weren’t expecting if you don’t think too hard about it.
Enjoy the sunshine today, chickadees.