13 years ago I did not have a child. My marriage was pretty new and I still remember my wife on the phone telling my in a terrifying pitch that we were being attacked. I can remember listening to the radio in the office of the grocery store I was a manager in and hearing that there were several planes unaccounted for. It seemed every couple of minutes a theory of what was going to happen next materialized out of thin air. Through all this chaos I was stacking soup cans. The concept that the United States could be under attack in 2001 was so alien to us that even as the world watched the towers fall most of us continued to work. Customers would ask me where the canned beans were and then almost dismissively say “what the hell is going on in New York?”. When I got home I couldn’t get my eyes off the TV. We were watching the world change.
On September 12, 2001 a strange thing happened. For a while it seemed that we all remembered we American. We remembered we were all on the same team. Some of our poor racial behavior toward each other faded a little. American flags flew on many more homes than September 10th, 2001. We were friendlier to each other, we talked to more strangers on the street, and we were scared. When a family faces a crisis they often quietly, slowly turn to each other for support and America was reminded it was a family on the horrific day. We acted quickly and went after our enemy. Most everyone was behind our president and his actions. I will never forget the stunned look on his face when his handlers told him, as he sat in a school classroom, what had happened. You don’t have to like George Bush but he did not back down and he stood strong for the country. Mistakes were made but in the heat of that moment I believe only a fool would hold those against him. I cannot imagine with what he was faced with the stress he was under but I digress. My point is we were united. There was little talk of political parties and their differences. There would be plenty of judging and finger-pointing later but the government was pretty united in the weeks after the attack. I could not imagine being a parent on that day.
What would I have said to my daughter? Would I have been able to explain that there are real bad people in the world but they are a minority so try to not be afraid. To be clear when I say minority I mean that their belief of hatred toward us is in a small number of people compared to our worlds population. Would I have been able to hold back my anger at the attackers and if I identified the wrong people as the attackers how would I explain that to her? I want my daughter to understand the moment but not be paralysed by it. My daughter was born seven years after the attack so it may never be real to her. I took her to Ground Zero shortly after she was born but she will never remember it and maybe that is a good thing.
Time has passed and we have been at war the entire time. We have killed many terrorist leaders and they keep growing back. The pride we had the day after the event has long faded. Like anything else in America the event has passed and we have new things to fight about nationally. We voted in a black president. During Obama’s election and for years into his first term it was a great time to “Blame Bush!” The war, the down turn of the economy, bad military decisions, and Lost being cancelled were all Bush’s fault. The new president tried to start strong. He continued to get some of the biggest terrorists of the day. But eventually it seemed like the war at home was bigger. The economy turned south, OBAMACARE was fighting point,gun control issues, people shot in schools, people shot on military bases, people shot in movie theaters, the man takes too many vacations, and now it’s Obama’s fault. Congress refuses to work together. The parties fight to the point that little gets done. The media is entertainment and they must have a script so the news is reported in either a conservative or liberal way. Rarely is the news reported. We blamed Bush and Obama but the government never seems to blame itself and its inability to be adults, resolve issues, and be leaders. What is a parent to do? How do you teach your child about 911 and how to resolve issues when our leaders can’t agree on biscuits or toast? I will tell you how in my humblest of opinions.
Emma the events of 911 were horrific. A group of terribly evil people killed many Americans over ideals that we will never fully understand. The people who did this were cowards and did it for reasons that at the end of the day just make no sense.The people that died at 911 were everyday people just going about their lives. Someone from nearly ever ethnicity and both sexes died that day. Many people drove miles to offer help not knowing what they were going to do they were just “compelled by the event”. You love dog sweet heart and even dogs became heroes searching for missing people over tons of rubble. People would work tirelessly pulling people living and dead out from the pile left at Ground Zero. 911 was a moment of clarity for this country and we showed the world that we take care of our own. We showed the world that we will drop everything to help fellow Americans. It does not matter their skin color, sex, faith, or who they love because we are all Americans. There was a war and is a war and war never makes sense but sometimes it is sometimes a needed evil. One of the many problems with war is figuring out when the juice is no longer worth the squeeze. As a result of our war many military people have given their lives. As a result of the recovery efforts at Ground zero many firemen, medical staff, police officer, civilians, and those rescue dogs either died or became very sick from working the site. Why we remember 911 is because we can never forget those that gave all. We can never forget the volunteers that dropped everything to help each other. We can never forget that although the world may seem scary that in the worst of times we pull together. No matter how poorly our government acts toward each other blaming each other for everything we must rise above. Sweetheart you are the future. Your generation is the future. There may still be wars ahead but you can choose to make a difference. Be kind to everyone. Do not judge race. Do not judge faith. Be careful not to pick a side where they tell you what side you are on. Be yourself. You don’t have to agree with everyone and not everyone has to agree with you but find ways to work with those that do not see you eye to eye. You will make mistakes in life but they are merely life lessons. If you can do this you will be honoring those that were lost and hopefully your generation can show my generation how foolhardy we sometimes are. I love you!
The truth is that there is not an easy way to talk to your child about 911 but I do think it is important that we give them a reason to remember the souls touched by 911 and to try and make sure as best you can that it does not happen again and if it does work together not apart. Bless and thank all that died at 911, all that worked the pile, all that fought and fight in the wars and every family member.
What is a home? Is a home a place to simply watch TV, eat, sleep, wash, and repeat? Does a home have a pulse or life of its own? Before the age of 19 I lived in three different homes. From the age of 19 to 30 I lived in 12 different addresses. I loved having a different apartment every year. Since the age of 31 I have lived in the same house with my wife. I have lived in our Glenwood home longer than anywhere else in my 45 years on this planet. Our Home is the book where the story of our marriage has been so far written. Our home has been to backdrop of so many events. I have been in the grocery business for 15 years and before that I was a police officer. For the first few years of our marriage I struggled with working retail. I felt I was helping no one and contributing to nothing. I desperately wanted out and in that home I applied, replied, and conversed about many opportunities. I passed up several offers and stormed around that house wanting something more. I would eventually even take a job with the Fire Department but found my way back to the my present line of work. Work would have many ups and downs but in this old home my wife always had my back and was the greatest devils advocate.
The grandest of all wars would be witnessed in this old home. Parenthood was a life time wish of mine and when we decided to try we hit a big cruel infertile wall. I clearly remember spending an entire day and night on my Luv Sac in the living room keeping an eye on my wife after one of our miscarriages. Many tears would be shed privately by me in this old home when my wife was not there. I needed to be strong for her but in a quiet moment this old home knows about my breakdowns. The war would eventually be won and my wife would spend eight months on bed rest in this home. Our child would be born and so many things would chasing but we were always safe in this old home.
I walk in my daughters room. The room barely looks like the one I brought here home too. Its being packed up and the walls my Dad painted for her stand out boldly reminding us its a little Princesses room. The hundreds of diapers I changed in that room, to nights I spent rocking her to sleep, the thousands of stories I have read to her, and the endless number of songs I have sang to her are wove into the walls of this old home. She started walking here, reading here, laughing here, and she has been nursed back to health so many times. The room went from rockers, cribs, and Hello Kitty to a big bed, fish tank, and Monster High.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I have shared so many great ones there with family and friends, Christmas trees and Santa visits, birthday parties, and Easter Egg hunts. This home hosted them all. I have baked in this home with my daughter. Love has been made in this home and grown. Our family became what it is today in these walls. Many pets have been love here and three were lost. One was lost suddenly and by surprise, one while we were out of town, and recently our Big Brown friend moved on. Now this home is silent a shell of itself. The barks are mostly gone, the furniture and belongings slowly packed away. This home will soon belong to another family and I hope they are as lucky as we are. I hope the love we leave behind is karmic and grows for the new family. I hope we still see out neighbors and their love continues to grow.
The new home brings new dreams and new chapters. In this home we will celebrate new memories. We will see a little girl bringing friends through its halls and eventually boyfriends and grandchildren. We will grow older. I will watch from the porch a new neighborhood grow and make new friends. Their will be struggles but our old home has taught us to survive. First we must bring Big Browns ashes to the home and make a home for them by a tree in the huge yard. She will swatch over us. I look forward to the future but I will never ever forget the past.
The title is a bit lofty because I am only a part of what has made my greatest accomplishment so great. My little girl makes me strive to be the best I can be. She reminds me to be kind. She reminds me to forgive and as hard as I struggle with it sometimes she reminds me not to hold grudges. She is a ride that you seem to wait forever to enjoy but once it begins it moves so very fast. My little Monster makes my life brighter than any one man deserves. Another Christmas is coming and will soon be gone. The magic is still clear and new to her. Santa is coming but I am aware it will not be long before she knows the truth about old St Nick. I am drinking in this season and hammering it into my memory banks praying that nothing ever removes them. The magic will never leave the season as long as I keep it alive. Although Santa will one day be a caricature of the holiday our memories, traditions, and photographs will help us to remember why this truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I hope one day she will reminisce of our time with her child and maybe extend them on long after I have lived this life. I hope she creates her own traditions and loves this season forever with a childlike heart. I love you little Monster, little Stink. You and your Mommy make life a dream and I hope the dream lives a long, long, long time.