What I Want My Kids to Know about 9/11

You know exactly where you were.  It is our generation’s day that will live in infamy.

I sat on my sofa, watching Good Morning America, folding socks.  I save sorting socks for those days when I can find NOTHING else to do.  My seven month old Eilis was in her gym-thingy.  Brighid was in school.  Jim was at work, just across the water from New York City.  Granuaile was nothing more than wishful thinking.

I called Jim immediately when the first plane hit.  He was a small plane pilot, and I thought not only would he be intrigued, but I thought he’d explain to me how a plane could be that wrong in it’s directions.  Minutes later, we knew what we know now.

But two of my children do not.

I left Brighid in school that day, although other moms were running to pick their kids up.  I wanted her day to be normal, because honestly, I feared it would never be normal again.  Visions of war torn countries played in my head, where children play among the rubble of bombed out buildings.  I wanted her to have one more normal day.

It’s 10 years later.   We’ve all grown into a new normal and learned how to live life with terror threats over our heads, but really, we’ve remained – at least on US soil – relatively unscathed.  We learned about the rainbow system used for alerting us of the potential of a terror attack; we know to wear socks when we go to the airport; and most of us recognize the importance of scrutinizing our carry on bags.

But what do we tell the children who don’t remember? 

They’re going to see it on the news and in magazines.  They’ll probably hear something in school or in the community.  So I want my girls to know something.  This is what I want them to know:

Not everyone learned what they should have learned in kindergarten – that we should all be nice to each other and try to get along.  Some people never learn.

We are as safe as we can possibly be, thanks to thousands of soldiers and sailors who protect us, even when we’re sleeping; even when we’re at school; even when we’re at Dram’s; and even when we’re at the playground. 

Be grateful – always – for the sacrifice these men and women make for us.  Be grateful – always – for the sacrifice their families make so that they can protect us. 

Know that sometimes, these soldiers and sailors don’t get to go home to their little girls and little boys.  They get a new job – guardian angel.  Remember in your prayers their little boys and girls.

You want heroes?  You won’t find them on the football field, the basketball court, in concert, or on television.  You’ll find them right in our neighborhood, protecting us and keeping us safe.  We call them policemen and fire fighters.

Most of all, I want them to know that 2,998 angels were born on September 11, 2001 – including Nanny’s cousin Andrew – and as a result, we became a better country.  We were proud, we stood strong in the face of danger, we linked arms and promised each other we would never forget.

Let’s hope we never do.

Getting Back To School Over a Mountain of Paperwork

Remember the good old days?  We were all out to save the planet – remember that?  We were recycling, conserving energy, having our bills and bank statements sent electronically to save paper, and stopping the junk mail to save trees.  Remember back then?

I have just printed out nearly 50 sheets of back to school paperwork – between Eilis, Granuaile, and myself.  My printer has waved a white flag, and the guy selling toner down at the office supply store just ordered a brand new BMW.  Oh, and there’s a group of conservation enthusiasts chained to my dogwood tree out front with signs that say, “You Won’t Take This One Without a Fight”.

Let’s not even talk about the writer’s cramp I’m about to get while I fill out all this paperwork!

Is there no way to order a Seat Sack online for Granuaile?  She goes to Catholic school, for pete’s sake, they have my bank account number on file in case I skip out on the $11 bucks because the school doesn’t take PayPal or credit cards for this particular item.  And while I’m at it, what IS this particular item?

There are lunch order forms, emergency contact forms, parent volunteer forms, school supplies which can only be purchased from school order forms (Really?  Just tack that extra $10 on my tuition and give my kid the supplies on the first day.  You already know they need them – you typed it out on a form to tell me!), and even a form from the PE teacher that I have to sign that says my child will be exercising in PE class.

Where is the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor in support of fewer back to school forms?  They could call it “Mom’s Gone Nutty” – vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with nuts, spiked with tequila.  That should keep me unconscious until next year’s school forms have to be filled out.