Ten years, an expanse of time.  Passing of days.

“This weather is freaking me out,” George said this morning.  “It’s exactly like it was ten years ago.  Just beautiful.”

I’ve always been attracted to people from up north.  I love the accent.  The swagger.  The bluntness. I remember when we first started dating.  I used to laugh when George said  things like “cawfee”.  Say it again, I’d ask.  And he would.  You know the love.  So intense.  Makes you stupid.  You document everything.

People from NYC and Jersey are fighters.  They can be brash, but may also be the first person there to pick you up when you fall.

Talking about 9/11 is something you just don’t do with my husband.  He’s not one for expressing emotion, but seeing his face this morning as he watched the memorial service on ABC broke my heart.  I thought of many of his friends, construction workers.  Police officers.  Dealing with the aftermath of ten years ago today, after losing their jobs, their friends, their lives.

Ten years ago, I was walking into class when a girl who sat in front of me nearly knocked me down as she ran down the hallway.  I remember her crying and saying, “I can’t stay here.”

I went home and watched television for the entire day with another Northerner, my best friend and boyfriend at the time, Aaron.  Not knowing anyone directly affected by 9/11 at the time, we both wondered what to do.  We drove around finding somewhere to donate blood, and I felt like an asshole when I realized my dumb (picked off the wall) tattoo I’d gotten a few months earlier put me on the can’t donate list.

Yesterday, the boys and I went to the park.  I’ve been sick, sick, sicker than sick for the last couple of weeks.  I haven’t been able to leave the house, let alone go to work.  The park was one we hadn’t been to before, and as the boys went to the playground, I continued walking down the sidewalk, not knowing what I’d find.

I found this.

It took a lot of convincing to tear Danny away from the playground, but ten minutes later his shirt was off and he was knee-deep in the cool water.

If 9/11 taught me about one thing, that would be gratitude.  The appreciation for unplanned and beautiful moments.

As I rolled up my jeans and joined Danny in the water, I didn’t think about being sick.  I didn’t care that fifteen minutes in the sun would cause hours of agony later.  I cared about my family.  Many times, our bodies are present but our minds aren’t in the moment.  9/11 taught me to breathe, look around, and remember to think thank you.

I think George would agree.


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