Sunday, September 11, 2011

we will never forget.

 exactly 10 years ago today.

i was in my car alone... driving to work.
just another morning in metropolitan DC.

8:46 a.m.
i hear on the radio that an airplane has just crashed into a building in nyc.
come to find out it was the north tower of the world trade center.

i remember being taken aback... wondering how a mistake like that could happen.
i remember calling my aunt to ask if she had heard the news.

9:03 a.m.
a second airplane has just crashed into the south tower of the world trade center.

The South Tower of the World Trade Center explodes in flames after being hit by the hijacked airliner now universally known as "the second plane," United Airlines Flight 175, September 11, 2001. This photo -- with its black smoke; the shocking, brilliant, colossal flames; the cloudless sky; the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge flying the American flag -- captures so much of the story of the day that, if one were to create a composite picture to illustrate the idea of "9/11," the result might look very much like this astonishing shot.
(Photo: STR/Reuters /Landov)

panic sets in.
i continued on to work.
i realized at this point that this was no mistake.
but i did not know what to do.
i did not know how to make sense of what was happening.

In a scene repeated with terrifying frequency as flames engulfed the top of the towers, a man falls (or leaps, as was evidently the case with many victims) to his death from the World Trade Center. On the morning of September 11 photographer Richard Drew, in the midst of another assignment, got the call to drop everything and head to the World Trade Center. As soon as he arrived downtown he began shooting; later in the day, as as he processed what he had shot, he was especially struck by this photo -- and with reason. One of the most recognizable pictures made on 9/11, the image from a purely photographic perspective is breathtaking: the miniscule human form caught against the massive, abstract background of the towers is so obviously helpless, and doomed, that we're tempted to reach out our hands to try and cradle the tiny anonymous figure. And while Drew himself refuses to conjecture about the man's identity ("I prefer to think of him as a sort of Unknown Soldier," he told, it's impossible not to put ourselves in the falling man's place -- with all the dread and empathy that that sort of transference commands.
(Photo: AP Photo/Richard Drew)

9:38 a.m.
hijacked flight 77 crashes into the pentagon.

(Photo: REUTERS/Larry Downing LSD/HB)

i stood with co-workers in the conference room at work watching the news coverage.
the pentagon was just two miles away... a short five minute drive.

my husband worked in a hotel that looked over the pentagon.
there was a cellphone blackout.
and i could not get a line to reach him.
i panicked... along with everyone else that could not reach their loved ones.

we were sent home.
the roads were gridlocked.
i finally reached my husband on the phone.

They have our hotel on lock down.
There are snipers everywhere.
I cannot talk and I do not know when I will be home.
I love you.

if there is ever a time that you trust in the Lord.
this is it.
i drove to my aunt's house... our entire local family met there.
we sat and watched the television in shock.

9:59 a.m.
the south tower collapses.

10:10 a.m.
hijacked flight 93 crashes into a field in pennsylvania.

10:28 a.m.
the north tower collapses.

(Photo: AP Photo/NYPD, Det. Greg Semendinger)

This image (another by Stan Honda) is an exemplar of a strange, wrenching sight witnessed by innumerable people in New York on the morning of September 11: A survivor, layered in eerie, white dust, trudging away from the cataclysm. The man, Edward Fine, was an owner of an investment and public relations firm; he was on the 78th floor of 1 World Trade Center when it was hit.
(STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images) 

Stunned, frightened Marcy Borders, 28, is covered in dust as she takes refuge in an office building after one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed. Borders was caught outside on the street as the cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area, and raced into the building seeking shelter -- a building into which freelance photographer Stan Honda had also fled. "She was sort of this ghostly figure," Honda told, "covered in grey-white dust, and I thought that this was an amazing thing to see, that this would make an important picture of what was happening out there." Of all the images from 9/11, Honda's picture is perhaps the most immediate representation of the collective and individual shock felt by those who were actually there, in lower Manhattan, when the towers fell.
(Photo: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images) 

Rescue workers carry mortally injured New York City Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge from the wreckage after he was killed by falling debris while administering last rites to another victim. A Roman Catholic priest, a recovering alcoholic, a gay man, and -- as an FDNY chaplain a spiritual adviser and trusted friend to countless firefighters through the years -- "Father Mike" was the first recorded victim of the September 11 attacks. Photographer Shannon Stapleton's picture, which burns with immediacy and yet somehow feels composed, almost painterly, captures much of the day's intense incongruities in one sombre frame: the intimacy of witnessing a single death in the midst of a monumental catastrophe; brilliant sunlight shining on the chaplain's lifeless hands; devastated first responders shrugging off exhaustion, racing to the aid of helpless victims. Here is the best, and the very worst, of that day.
(Photo: SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters /Landov)

as i sit here this morning watching memorials on television... a tear falls.
amazing grace is being played beautifully right now by a flutist.
and i try to find the words to explain 9/11 to my son as he asks...

What does this mean?
How did that happen?
Why did they do that?

On 9/11, the New York City Police Department lost 23 officers. The Port Authority police lost 37. The FDNY's dead numbered 343. Here, firefighter Tony James cries while attending the funeral service for New York Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge at New York's St. Francis of Assisi Church, September 15, 2001. Photographer Joe Raedle, who attended and photographed funerals for weeks after September 11, told of this shot: "Anytime you see a fireman or a symbol of strength breaking down like that, it resonates." In fact, Raedle's photograph, with its ghostly echoes of James' salute surrounding his tear-streaked face, speaks to how millions of people around the world felt in the days and weeks after the attacks: namely, that strength was what we all needed most, and that it was the one thing that was hardest to find.
(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

how about you?
where were you when the first plane crashed?
how does this day in history affect you?
i love to hear the stories of others.



we will never forget.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

good things are to come.

the first day of school.
mason a handsome, mature little second grader. 
payton a kindergartener. 
addison still a preschool pipsqueak. 


i have dreaded this day for over five years.
this day that payton would start kindergarten.
this day that i would have to remove her from my wing and let her fly.


and she rocked it.
in true payton style.
if only i could be as carefree and confident as she.


she had no time for the paparazzi as we waited for the bus.
i am going to kindergarten.
i am going to ride the bus with my brother.
i will make friends.
and pretty much you should stop worrying about me.


her confidence helps my anxiety a wee bit.
and mason helps it a whole lot more.
this transition would be so much harder without him.
that is one thing i do know.


she seemed real nervous, eh?


kindergarteners moved to the front of the line to load first.
payton would not budge until mason went with her.
she is obsessed with her brother.
thankfully the feelings are mutual.


be still my heart.


i admit it.
i followed the bus to school.
day one. and day two.
had to have that visual of the unloading process.

it is good.
this momma's heart is full.

addison gets to spend her mornings with me.
she is in an afternoon preschool class with payton's old teachers.


it is amazing to me how far she has come.
her speech is coming along great.
just need a little more spontaneity.
she is blossoming into such a big girl.
love her.


she is rockin some glasses.
moved into big girl panties this past weekend.
she is rockin it.


her backpack is still bigger than she is.
has been for two years now.


can't help but think what she would be doing right now if still in russia.
likely nothing even close to what she is doing now.


so excited for her future.
good things are to come.

 blasts from the past.

watching those old videos made me cry.
this momma is now a hot mess.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Saying goodbye.

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. ~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan, Annie

My sister and I.

It was early 2000 and I was a newlywed living in Wisconsin. We had always talked about moving back to the east coast to be closer to family, but I knew that I could never go without my mom and my sister.

On a whim, I applied for a job. You know, just to see what would happen. When the letter came in the mail telling me the date and time of my interview, I panicked. I called a family meeting and proposed moving to the DC metro area. We had family in the area, as well as up and down the coast. Mom said no. And I don't even remember what Kristie said, but because Mom said no ... all bets were off.

A day or two later, Mom changed her mind. She said yes, we all found jobs and within a few months ... we all were living in the DC metro area. And here we have stayed since.

Until now. Kristie has moved to Florida. Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It kills me that our kids will not grow up together ... that is one thing that I loved so much about being close. But I am happy for them and what this opportunity will bring them. Just have my fingers crossed that they come back ... soon. Ha.

Our kids ... minus the new babe, Maya.

Before Kristie moved, we celebrated Maya's baptism and spent the day at a waterpark. There is nothing else in this world that makes me feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be than spending the day with family.

Love these chicks.

L-R: Tammy (cousin), me, Sherry (aunt), Debby (cousin), Mom and Kristie (sister)

Love these babes.



I have thought a lot about how lucky I am to have the family I have. How lucky I am to have a sister that I love so much. How lucky I am to have that in my life. As hard as it was to say goodbye to Kristie, life would be so much harder with nothing at all.

So we make the best of what we have. And even though Kristie left just a few short weeks ago, she is lucky to have a crazy, spontaneous sister like me that has already taken a detour to Florida to see her.

Until next time ...