Friday, September 11, 2009
We were getting the kids ready for school just after reading scriptures and having family prayer. We were all still in the family room, when my mom called. She was crying and I knew right away something was wrong. She told us to turn the TV on, that she just couldn't believe it. Brandon found it easily, it was everywhere. My mom was still talking to me, but I just remember not breathing, watching the smoke, the people at the windows... then the second plane struck and I grabbed Jacob and held him tight next to my round belly, and wondered what kind of world I was bringing our little girl into. We mechanically got the kids ready for school, somehow, with one eye trained on the television, our hands reaching to touch them and each other as we passed or paused. We cringed as we walked to school, as the fighters zoomed over our heads... the air force base was just outside of town, and the jets were out, patrolling, running drills, I don't know, but they zoomed over our heads and our eyes had to follow them over the trees, trained on the spot they left our view, still heard but unseen. The other moms and dads at the school looked at one another as if to ask, "Do we leave our children here?" Yes, the teachers and principal were out to greet, invite, reassure. "We will let you know if there is any reason to come get your children." So I leave them, and they are fine, wondering why we are so afraid of something that happened so far away.
Back home, the TV goes back on, and I fold laundry and eat and work at my business while staring at the footage of the buildings falling, people running, over and over and over. And the plane goes down in the cornfield. It's 2:00 in the afternoon and my three year-old finally jerks me out of the stupor.
"Mommy, can we please not watch that airplane show anymore? I don't like it."
My eyes jerk to his. He is sucking his thumb. I grab the remote and snap off the TV. I pull him on my lap. "I'm sorry, honey. Those are bad people who did that, huh?"
"Should we make cookies?"
He nods again and we get up. My hands shake and I watch the clock and run to the window every time the jets pass over. And we hurry to get the kids from school, to get them home, to get them safe, to cookies.
And in the following days, weeks, I have to believe that somehow, somehow, this will make a stronger America for my kids, and our homes will be safe. Free. Assuring. I can not imagine an America without that. The flag waves.
What does it mean, then, so many years later, that I am not so sturdy in my imaginings? That I get emotional when I hear, or say, "One nation, under God, indivisible..."?
So, what is my Glass Half Full take? When I look at my kids, talk to them, I am amazed at their strength, their conviction, even when they are fighting demons... they are steady in their faith. Then, so am I.