I honestly had no intention of blogging about today. Yes, I'm well aware it's Patriot Day and as an American who was alive on September 11, 2001 I still have a very, VERY vivid account of my life that day and the following weeks after the attacks on our country. I know I have posted throughout the years about it, I know I've shared feelings, thoughts and emotions about it but tonight, it shifted for me. Tonight it was brought back anew for me and I had to have a conversation about it I really wish I didn't have to.
I got caught up in the news on CNN and flipped to another channel which happened to be the history channel, not thinking much about the time I watched coverage of the events of 9/11 and listening to peoples accounts of that day. As I went to get a tissue since I was crying I realized Avery had left her bed at some point and was leaning against the couch watching the TV.....
My sweet 3yr old was watching the first building fall with big wide eyes and then looked at me as I stood there crying and just said "Mommy! What happened!"
What do you say? How do you respond? How do you explain something so horrible and so life altering for millions of people to a 3yr old?!
So I grabbed a tissue, put the TV on mute and sat her beside me as she wiped my face and kept asking if I was okay. I literally didn't know how to have the conversation with Avery, I didn't want to. I know it's important, I know it's history for her but she's 3!!!
So I just started with "Mommys okay, just sad at watching the TV show what happened when mommy and daddy were in high school, it happened 11yrs ago, before you were born." She grasped that part easy enough and just said "What happened?" So I continued with "well, some bad men did something terrible in NYC and in Pennsylvania, they took over some planes and flew them into some important buildings and a lot of people got hurt and went to heaven that day."
"Why they do that mommy?"
Why indeed! I sat there trying to figure out how to answer this and just tried to sort out what I felt and what many Americans felt, we still have soldiers over there fighting because of these events!
"Baby, some people have hard hearts towards our country because they don't understand our freedoms, you know what freedoms are? Like how you get to go to school, go to church, college some day...other countries don't get to do these things. Mommy can't tell you why they did this but it happened and it hurt a lot of people and now we have soldiers fighting on the other side of the world to make sure we stay safe."
She sat with me for a bit, wiped my face then just said "That's so sad mommy, but we have good people still"
I didn't really say much to that,just smiled and asked if she had any other questions or if she wanted to talk about it anymore. "It happened?" "Yes baby, way before you were born" "You and daddy saw it?" "Yes baby, we were in high school." "It made you sad?" "Still does." "Okay mommy."
As a parent you have a few moments where certain topics get brought up and you prepare for them, like death, puberty, driving, high school, graduation, first heartbreak, first lost friendships, etc....but having to explain terrorist attacks on your country past or present or war or things of that nature...I wasn't aware of!
I wish I could protect her sweet innocence longer, I wish she wasn't so keen on things but I also know she can handle these facts of life because of her personality and because of her sweet nurturing nature. I know she will ask questions if she feels like it and I also know she won't let it haunt her. I just wish I knew the magic words, I fear of failing her in understanding why things happen and in this day and age it's just sickening to know what some people are capable of doing to strangers.
I still, 11 years later, cry over scenes and stories of 9/11. I still get a little angry, I'm still confused. I'm also proud of our country, proud of the soldiers who fight willingly, proud of those who enlisted shortly after, proud of the victims families who still have pride in their hearts and never let their loved ones be forgotten.