September 11, 2001 changed our lives in so many ways. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized that those attacks on our country changed me as a mommy forever.
I was a pretty confident mother of 2. I had a 3 year old and an 18 month old. I read every book there was to read. Additionally, I often sought the advice of my 77 year old grandmother because it had been said that her generation raised the greatest generation. I knew what I was doing, and if I didn’t, I’d figure it out. I traveled alone with the kids and stayed home alone when my husband traveled. I was the mother lion, nothing could harm my children.
September 11, 2001 was my oldest child’s first day of nursery school. It was also my husband’s first day with a new company. Big changes were ahead for us and we were looking forward to them.
Then the unimaginable happened. Suddenly any unrealistic fears I had regarding my children could no longer be shrugged off as “foolish.” We had just seen on television that something far worse than we’d ever imagined could, and did, happen.
After that any silly, worrisome thoughts that crept into my mind about the kids seemed more important. As if they had to be acted upon, immediately.
I didn’t feel comfortable staying home alone when my husband traveled. My sister-in-law often stayed with me. If we went somewhere as a family, I would have a hard time enjoying the moment, because I first had to be sure I knew where all of the emergency exits were and form an evacuation plan in my mind.
A couple of years later, both big kids were in school and I was going to visit my mother. As I was headed out of town, fire trucks, police cars and ambulances were headed in. I immediately turned around and drove to the school. I was certain something was wrong. But nothing was wrong at the school. Something was wrong with me. I realized then, that I had been changed as a mommy forever. I didn’t just worry about travelling by plane or crowded places, I worried about everything that was out of my control when it came to my children.
Almost 10 years have passed and I am much better at dealing with those panicky thoughts and unrealistic fears. I no longer worry that something awful will happen any minute.
This morning I heard the news that our military had successfully captured and executed Osama Bin Laden. It should have been a moment of relief. Instead of making me feel safer, the news has made some of the uncertainty and insecurity resurface. For a brief moment today, I considered picking the kids up from school early and stocking up on emergency supplies.
In order to keep it in perspective, I’ll just continue to remind myself that my worries about what could happen are nothing compared to what our service men and women and their families have to endure.
And that today, I am grateful for today.