As I opened my Twitter account and scanned my favourite blogs this morning, I was bombarded with the same message: "where were you on 9/11?".
Where was I?
It's funny, like most people, I remember the day quite vividly.
It was my first day back at university, and it was a fantastic morning. A move and a colicky baby had made for one miserable summer, and I was eager for the fresh start a new school year had to offer. It was exhilarating, after months of consoling a super cranky Elliot and running after my super busy and very inquisitive three year old Zoe, to be finally out on my own once again and having adult conversations that centred upon books. I sat in my best friend/mentor/prof, Sarah Maier's office drinking tea (pre-Mormon days) and making plans for my Honours thesis that was quickly approaching. It was delightful!! At noon, I practically skipped out of the university and into the front seat of our car, where Mr. Level-Headed was waiting to bring me home. I hopped in, brimming with excitement and feeling engorged from being away from my little man for so long, but as I turned to Derrick about to bombard him with all my delightful impressions of the day, I froze. Something was wrong. Mr. Level-Headed, who always greets me with a smile and a "there's my beautiful girl" (I know, I am completely spoiled), simply asked "did you hear?". Judging from the sullen look on his face, I immediately knew that whatever I had not heard was not going to be good. Rather than tell me, he turned the radio back on and stared blankly at the dashboard.
The Twin Towers have just been hit by an airplane!
I was shocked. At that moment, fear permeated my body, and I demanded that he get me home to my babies. For the first time in my life, I was speechless. Our silence was eery, and the images running through my head were equally disturbing.
As we approached the babysitter's house, Mr. Level-Headed, always being the level-headed one, asked me to act like nothing had happened so as not to scare Zoe. Luckily for him, I was so numb with fear that I was able to grant him this wish. I greeted our sitter, the lovely Ms. Taryn Whipple, who by the way is an amazing babysitter if you are ever in need of one, and in one brief glance we silently shared our fears and our anxiety.
How did the kids make out?
Yes, Zoe that is a lovely picture you drew. Let's help clean up now.
See you tomorrow!
And off we went.
Having my babies securely fastened in the backseat of the car, I started to feel more in control and more at peace. When we got home, we continued on with our charade like nothing had happened. Mr. Level-Headed went back to work, and I nursed Elliot while Zoe played in our back yard. I remember sitting there with the sun beating down on me, cradling Elliot in my arms, watching Zoe capture grasshoppers and thinking "what is this going to mean to them?". "How is this going to change our life?". "Will we now live in constant fear of external threats?".
That night, after I had bathed Zoe and put her to bed, we turned the television on and were inundated with the horrific images of the Twin Towers collapsing. Bit by bit, reports were coming in and the story started to emerge. We were introduced to phrases that would quickly become all too familiar to us like: the Taliban, Bin Laden, 9/11, and so on. As Mr. Level-Headed sat on the couch with Elliot curled up on his chest, I swept. I swept and swept. It was all I could do to keep myself from falling apart. Sweeping my floor made me feel like I was doing my part to put the world back in order. Crazy? Yes! OCD? Yes! But, I kept on sweeping. All of sudden, our once impermeable nation had become vulnerable, and I did not know how to handle it.
What will be attacked next?
Could the Point Lepreau Nuclear station become a target?
Are we going to war?
Will Derrick have to go?
and so on and so on.
So, where was I on 9/11?
As it turned out, I, thankfully, was encircled within a protective bubble. 9/11 did not have a direct impact on me or my family. Nothing changed for us.
Life went on as usual. Elliot remained colicky, Zoe continued to be inquisitive, Mr. Level-Headed was level-headed, and I? Well, I carried on sweeping . . . and still do. The world is chaotic, and our lives, at times, are even more chaotic, but each night I sweep up the pieces of my day, sift through each moment in an attempt to capture the most precious, the most touching, the most interesting and the most uplifting instances and sweep them into a nice, neat pile, where I carefully gather them in and turn them into something beautiful . . . something orderly . . . something tangible,
This is where I make sense of my life. This is how I put the world back into order . . . one story at a time.
And, thankfully, 9/11 isn't one of my stories.
Our thoughts and prayers here at Shenanigans Inc.go out to all those families whose stories, unfortunately, were touched by the events of 9/11.