Sunday, September 11, 2011
Each year, this day becomes more of a question mark for me. Remembering fills me with a deep sense of sadness, mournful that our world changed on that day. For Peter, he both likes and hates working on this day. This year he's working which means participating in 3 different September 11 memorial events. It's hard for the guys to do this every year, but they also know that it's important and are glad to do it. I think if he went to work and there were no September 11 events scheduled he would be simultaneously relieved and deeply disappointed.
As for me, my question each year becomes - do I tell the kids? I know many fire families have told their kids about this day early and often in their lives, without creating fear and instead crafting pride and respect for the fire service. I have chosen not to tell the kids yet because I don't want the thought to even cross their mind as they board their first plane flight that something bad might happen to the plane. I don't want them to hear about actual events where firefighters have died and buildings have collapsed. They know Peter's job is dangerous but right now it's in the abstract. They know there are bad people in the world but somehow this crosses the line from "bad" people.
But as Miss E gets older and is more aware of her surroundings, each year I find myself asking, is this the year? Right now I'm pretty much waiting until they ask about it - which has pretty much been our policy on most parenting things so far. We don't let them watch the news and when Miss E is obviously reading the newspaper I give it a quick scan to make sure there's nothing really bad on the page she's reading. She'll pick up on something eventually I'm sure but I'm unsure as to whether I should help that along.
10 years ago I woke up on a week-long bike ride in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Oregon. I was with my mom and my sister and Peter was at our home, working for the ambulance company and as a volunteer. There was no TV or radio where we were and as we are eating breakfast a woman on a bullhorn announced out of the blue that our country was under attack and that all national guard troops would be supplied phones to call in and assistance returning to their bases. We had no idea what had happened. As we rode our bikes that day a few folks with radios would pass along brief snippets of information. A plane flew into a building. A plane crashed into field. There are fighter jets patrolling over New York City. 20 firefighters died. At the time I thought - 20? There's no way that many could die in an incident. And then, I wonder if there were people on the plane? It wasn't until that evening at our rest stop in another location that we were able to call home. They brought in extra phones so people could call relatives on the East Coast. I finally got ahold of Peter and he told me what really happened.
At this point he had just been hired by the fire department.
So every year I wonder, is this the year? And then - should I have told them last year?