Friday, September 11, 2009


On this morning, eight years ago, I was driving my kids to school, listening to the radio just like we always did every morning. Zach was a junior at Milby High School, Nathan was in his first year at Chavez and Katie went to Patterson Elementary. Joseph was three years old and Savannah was in her car seat. It's funny how when you're in a routine, you think it will always be that way. That the life you're in at the time is the one you'll always be in.

We had dropped Katie off already and were headed to drop off Nathan when we heard on the radio that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. It perked our ears up, but we kept on talking about whatever we were talking about. My first thought was that a student pilot must have erred off course and crashed into the building. We let Nathan out and pulled back onto the road, and then the radio announcer said a second plane had hit. That's when I knew. I told Zach, "This is no accident. It's an attack."

When I got home that morning, I turned on the tv and watched the world change in an instant. I fed the babies, changed a diaper or two and did everything I usually did around the house every morning. Then I sat on the couch and watched buildings collapse and people die right before my eyes.

For a few days, I lived in a world that mourned and feared and was horrified together as one. For a few days, I lived in a country that was undivided. There weren't democrats or republicans or black people or white people or people who couldn't speak english. There were only my brothers and sisters. For a few days, I understood what it was to be an American, to be the member of a nation that is powerful and great and proud. And for a few days, I grieved for all that was lost.

The life I was in back then is not the one I'm in now. It's changed in ways I could never have imagined. I don't change diapers anymore or even have all my kids together under one roof. I don't live in the town where I was born and raised and always thought I'd live forever. I'm divorced and remarried, our house is in the country and we own a John Deere riding lawn tractor. I've experienced the death of my dad and my son and learned a different kind of grief. But I've had a lot of laughter and love and good surprises, too.

And the road just keeps rolling under my wheels. Sometimes I'm glad I can't see what's coming around the corner.


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