On 22 years ago, what we now call 911 happened.
Christine here and I’m going to share just a bit – September 11 is my birthday! And this year, I am looking at a big one 😊.
Looking back on the morning of September 11, 2001, it was just like any other until it was not. And like many of you, I remember exactly what I was doing when I watched the plane hit the second tower and then the world as we knew it changed forever.
The very first person to call me was my grandmother and she said, “bad things happen on good days!” You see her birthday has another name, not Patriot’s Day, but Pearl Harbor Day.
I find I do not really share my birthday anymore. People know and new people, it is just not something I put out there. For years it was met with an audible sigh or, “oh, gosh, that sucks….” And lots of times, I spent the day quietly. Most years without the television on in the background because some birthdays, it is just too much! Then I would feel terrible about my own feelings and avoiding the news, features, etc. It was certainly a day without cause for celebration.
I would say that with each passing year, it does get a little better but I think it is more about hoping for an uneventful September 11th because really, it could not be any worse.
For the past 22 years, there has always been some sort of reservation or tugging hesitation. I have not been able to fully embrace my birthday and celebrate and lots of times I dismiss the well wish. This dismissal often causes an awkwardness only others who share the birthday understand. And it felt selfish to celebrate when thousands and thousands lost so much.
Then when my kids wanted to do the birthday “thing” for their mom like birthdays were for them and others, they simply did not understand my avoidance or more dismissing. Last year I was asked, “mom, why can’t we make a big deal about your birthday like you do for us?”
While I heard what my grandma said 23 years ago, I did not listen. Not until the past year that is. I have finally accepted the idea that grief and happiness are not mutually exclusive.
It took a lot of reflecting and accepting and evolving as a person to be able to say this – today is my birthday and I am going to celebrate. And in the very next sentence, lest we forget.
And to the over 13,000 babies who were born on that day and the 22 years since – it’s a magical day – your first day, and I hope you celebrate too!
Thanks for reading and allowing me to share my experience. This year has been a long time coming….
Staton Island Ferry with the Twin Towers in the background with my baby brother, left, 1997
9-11 Memorial, Staton Island, 2013
Awaiting the Staton Island Ferry with my brother, right, 2013
Atop the Empire State Building and the Twin Towers in the distance, cover image above, 1998
All photos from GLAMoms