slice of my life

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where were you when . . .

I figured if you were anywhere around people today, you might be talking about this anyway. Here's what I was doing on September 11, 2001:

I got a call from my mom at 6:30a.m. We were already up and stirring about because it was a school day for J and me. (Our time, the planes hit about 8:30, so this is still before that.) It was dark outside. But I knew why Mom was calling before I even answered the phone. My Grandmother had passed away. My aunt had come down from Michigan alone that weekend, and my grandmother had passed away shortly after visiting with her three kids. Mom and my aunt had spent the night with my grandmother, and had talked about a nursing home for the first time that weekend. But now the struggle was over, and I was thinking about how to manage the day and this week we were starting Sonshine School.

Larry was not working (was he doing a night shift at that time?), so I took J to his school (Kindergarten), and I was on my way to Sonshine School for a work day. After dropping him off, I went to a grocery store to get a bagel for breakfast. The workers were talking about two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. I remember thinking, "I'd believe one plane into a building, but two? How could the same accident happen twice?" I also wasn't sure if the WTC was in Chicago or NYC. I couldn't even concieve that a terrorist was even together enough to pull off an act like this. How naive I was! I thought all those "crazy" fundamentalist religious types surely did hate our country, but I never dreamed they were organized and funded like they were. I was just busy being a Mom.

So I went out to the car with my bagel and turned on the radio, and it was some live feed from New York or something with occasional voice overs from the local guys. It sounded crazy, confused and surreal. Which it was at the time.

I went on to my pre-school workplace, and as we always did/do we started with a prayer time. It was somber, and we were freaked out a bit. I remember after we prayed, Mr. Frank came in and said something like, "They hit the Pentagon, too." I couldn't help but be afraid. Tammy wisely told us to not go listening to this stuff all day, but to focus on our tasks for the day, to be a place of normal in our rooms tonight for these little children who would be visiting us. It was Meet the Teacher Night. I called Larry at one point and asked him if he had the TV on. He said yes, he and B were watching a video. No, Larry, turn on the TV news. Something crazy is happening to our country.

I processed all this during the day. I realized that I am not anywhere near the Pentagon or NYC. I'm in a place with a major university, but not any major terrorist target, most likely (but who knows the logic?). I thought about my child at his little school. Was he safe? Probably best to keep him in a normal place as well.

And then we had a Board-provided lunch. All we could talk about was the confusion and the whys. I remember asking Johnnie Ruth if this is what WWII felt like. Are we at war? Who is this enemy?

And then my thoughts would go to my grandmother. How could I forget? My grandmother has passed away, and this moment that I need for grief for my loss is confused by all this other stuff. This major event!! How can life ever be the same again? And how is my Mom? Her siblings?

All these questions have been answered, I guess, but I'm still left with my funny feeling. My protected world was disrupted, and I have a new reality. But my focus is really the same: I'm looking out for my kids and those little kids in my care, trying to do what's best for them. I'm trying to be those hands of Jesus in my daily life. I can't go freaking out about stuff that's happening in the world. I call upon the "peace that passes understanding" and upon the Comforter to get me through the little things that bother me and the big major events like this.

Later in the week, we had my grandmother's funeral---on Thursday, what was supposed to be the first day of school for my Sonshine School. My aunt got stranded in Texas, and Mom and her had to go shopping to get her some funeral clothes. Her family was stuck in Michigan, where they could not be a support for her. Remember? all flights were shut down for how many days? I don't even remember. But the funeral was a celebration of her life. She was again united with my grand-dad. My aunt and my mom wore pantsuits, and my uncle wore his Scottish kilt that he got on a "heritage" trip he took with my grandmother to Scotland. (The girls wore pants, the boy wore a "skirt" see the irony?)

Well, that's my post. What were you doing on Sept. 11, 2001?


  • I was 39 weeks pregnant and I was getting ready for an appointment with my midwife that morning. I remember my husband and I watching, transfixed, as the horrifying events unfolded before us on the television. On our way to my checkup we talked about the uncertain world our baby was about to be born into. Our precious son arrived ten days later, and brought so much happiness into our lives.

    By Blogger Melissa, at Monday, September 11, 2006 2:24:00 PM  

  • jenny, this is a great post! you really captured all the confusion and naive-ty (how do you spell that) that i experienced at the time.

    By Blogger janet, at Monday, September 11, 2006 3:22:00 PM  

  • I was sleeping. I had grounded myself from TV. I was going to grad school and working as a GA at SHSU so I didn't have to be up early. The phone woke me up - it was Easy. All he said was - I know you grounded yourself from TV, but you need to turn it on. Another call was beeping in so I said OK and switched lines as I flipped on the TV. It was my best friend on the other line and just as I say hello I realize what has happened. The first words out of my mouth were not very Christian-like. I processed with Dasha for a while and then had to go so I could call my Daddy. I had an intense need to hear his voice. Isn't it funny how when we are scared we need both our earthly and heavenly fathers so intensly that we can't help but reach out to them.

    By Blogger sarahdawn, at Tuesday, September 12, 2006 1:02:00 PM  

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