Thursday, September 10, 2009

My 9/11 Perspective

Pin It This is an odd thing for me this year.

Background -- I did not know a single person who was killed on 9/11/01. I did not have a friend of a friend who died on that date. It really did not affect me on that personal of a level. I was horrified with the rest of the country, and the images from that date are forever burned in my mind, but for me, I didn't really have faces of people that I knew to put with those images. Grief and shock, to be sure, but not on a more intimate level.

It did affect me on a personal level though. We were in Spokane, having flown up on 9/10/01. Gabbi had just turned three and Madelyn was four months old. We had plans to fly back on 9/17, I think. So, sitting there seeing all that, being so incredibly thankful that we had flown out of Houston the day before, and looking at my babies, well, it was somewhat personal, because the matter of getting back home was in the back of my mind. Did I want to rent a car and drive all the way across the country with the baby who screamed a large portion of her awake time, and the preschooler who talked incessantly? Or did I want to put my babies on a plane?

The airport reopened the day before we were due to fly out, and our flights remained as originally scheduled, so there turned out to be no real issue with us getting home, other than fear on my part. I remember just basically sobbing in relief once we landed in Houston. Really though, this was the extent of how this affected me personally. More inconvenience than anything else. Still horrified (I still am, actually) and still feeling that "this changes everything", but not personally affected in the ways that so many people were.

Then last year happened. It has become more personal to me because almost exactly a year ago Jim signed up to rejoin the army. My husband is now in Afghanistan. My kids are without their daddy for nearly a year.

Eight years seems like a long time. It's a little unsettling to think that something that happened eight years ago, that didn't affect us directly at the time, is so profoundly affecting our lives right now.

I wonder about the kids. Because of this year of our lives, I wonder if 9/11 will be more than a story in a history book for them. I wonder if they will relate the two in their minds. I'm not entirely sure. We don't really say the word "war" to them. Gabbi might have a clue, but the other two have no idea. In Brendan's words, "Daddy's at work." Madelyn, I suspect, doesn't really know why he's there at all. Maybe I should ask her sometime. Gabbi has an inkling I think, but even she is content in her world without details.

I was trying to decide about whether I should turn the TV on today if children are in the room. They can and have seen pictures, but I think the fact that there are people in those pictures hasn't sunk in. At this point, that's a good thing. I don't know if I want them relating the fact that the people who caused that live not too far from Daddy and are the reason he's not home with them right now. It's an interesting decision -- do I risk them being in fear to explain the real reason he's there? Or let them continue to enjoy the ignorance is bliss that they're living in now? Actually, my decision is already made there. There is next year, when Jim is home, to explain things if we feel they should know more.

I apologize if I'm just rambling now. I've been working on this post in bits and pieces over the last week because I can't really seem to collect my thoughts. Remembering then and experiencing the effects now. It's an interesting place to be.

eta: I am loving the (In)Courage blog right now, and they're doing a blog hop of 9/11 stories and posts. I'd love for you to hop over there and check out first the incourage web site, and then to read some of the other blog posts on this topic.


Becky said...

Hugs to y'all today. You especially. It's hard to feel that depth of personal awareness and maintain a protective, nonchalant attitude in front of the kiddos. Love you, lady!

Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts of this day. God bless your husband and your family, for your service and love of this country. We appreciate you! So happy to hear you are loving the (in)courage site... glad you added your link today!