9/11 and preschool
I was going to post at September 11th today, about the strange mix of fear and calm as I sat in my office downtown. I was going to write about being blocks from the Sears Tower, about the constantly ringing phones that spread from office to office, cubicle to cubicle, as mothers and husbands and boyfriends and friends in other nearby buildings called with concern. Where were we? Would Chicago be next? When would we evacuate? Is it OK to exit the buildings, to board the els and subways, to drive on the expressways through the city?
I was going to write about how I sat on the couch for ten hours with my mother, unable to get stir, my eyes fixed on the chaos and horror and overwhelming sadness of a city and a nation crumbling. I was going to write about attending a memorial service at my church a few days later, of feeling like a hand rested on my shoulder during one hymn, of having a strong sense that my minister grandfather had died only a month earlier with some purpose, of the peace that washed over me when I envisioned him greeting the departed as their spirits ascended into the unknown.
I was going to write about all that but my morning was swept up in making a sun butter and jam sandwich lunch, filling up sippy cups, packing extra sets of clothes, bathing the boy who woke up sweaty in his jammies and could only be scrubbed and soothed in a morning bubble bath. A contemplative morning gave way to the flurry of getting my boy and myself ready for the first day back to co-op and the return of a more regular schedule.
There is an assertive breeze blowing through this sunny day, telling me that summer is quickly with the yellowing ginkgo leaves in front of our apartment building. It is bright and clear and much like that day six years ago (six years!). But today, my boy is nearly three and heading off to a new classroom in his co-op, where he will walk up two flights of stairs and be able to reach his own bin full of his lunchbox and backpack and babydoll Tiger and will take potty breaks instead of toting diapers for changing.
Today, he stands in front of the door, with some hesitation but big smiles, talking about Samantha and Big Josh and the rest of his friends waiting to play.
As I snapped first day photos of this child with combed hair and wrinkled pants and the sweetest gap between his teeth, my heart had a momentary ache to think of the parents and children who lost each other that day when everything stopped. That slight pause was interrupted by a "MOMMY! I will do fwee!" as Lil E carefully unfolded and refolded his fingers into a prideful three.
And I thought that as hard as life is, it does go on. Smiles spread across small faces and there is just the slightest and most significant indication of hope and happiness. There is school and stickers and sippy cups and small children who grow up to make changes, bring comfort, rebuild, play. That is what I'm writing -- and thinking and thankful -- about today.
Cross-posted at Sassafrass. Photo credit: Jessica Ashley