I woke up to the softly muted beeping of the telephone. My nursling snoozing beside me in the bed. Groggily I picked up the receiver and heard Mike's voice on the other end.
"Are you watching TV? Turn on the TV!" he said. And I noted that his voice sounded strange and not like it's normal jovial self.
"Why would I have the tv on it's like 6:00?" I asked.
" The East coast is being attacked by terrorists...the pentagon...their are planes crashing into the World Trade Center. It's crazy!" he said. His voice was tense but metered and calmer than one would expect but being a police officer he is trained to keep calm in intense situations.
I hung up the phone and turned on the tv in my room. My baby stirred and settled back into his innocent, dreamy sleep. Lucky little baby. The newscasters had wide, stary eyes and didn't have their normal plastic look about them. I could tell they were scared. Scared and sad.
I watched as footage played on a loop. A plane coming into view and plunging into one od the World Trade Center buildings. It lookes like a movie. It couldn't be real.
But it was.
The baby squeaked and I picked him up and began to nurse him, still in the safety of my bed. I dialed my moms number and when she answered I instantly knew she was unaware of how our country had changed in a millisecond.
" Are you watching tv?" I said. Parrotting the same sentence Mike had asked me only a few minutes before. I heard my dad's voice in the background as he was preparing to leave for work.
"No. Dad and I are drinking coffee, " she said.
" Turn on the tv Mom..." I said, trying to keep my words even and trying not to cry, "Terrorists have crashed planes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. The buildings are coming down. It's horrible Mom."
If one thing is forever etched into my mind from that morning it's the reaction my mom had when I told her those words. She may not even remember it but I do. She let out a horrified scream. Not loud but sort of an exhale of shuddering, screaming breath. I heard her voice sounding far away and I knew that she was talking to my dad.
"Turn on the news, hurry, there's been a terrorist attack on the east coast, " her voice sounding so far still.
I don't really recall what we talked about for the next few minutes. In truth, I don't think we talked at all. We held the phones to our ears and listened to each other breathe while we watched on our respective tv's. We finally had the strength to hang up, I depressed the button on the phone and it felt very lonely and quiet in my room.
I lay in my bed, nursing my little one and looking down at his little face. Wondering what all this meant for America and knowing that this country was forever changed in that moment. Or series of moments. I was glued to the tv watching the same footage play over and over and listening to the newscasters struggle to find comforting words when there were none to be found. My sweet little twin girls, not yet 3 came clamoring into my room and crawled into my bed.
Maddy, always the perceptive child, so sensitive to the feelings of everyone around her sensed something was wrong. She snuggled uo against me and I saw her eyes affixed on the screen as the second WTC tower came crashing down. Her eyes sprang wide open and she had tears in them.
"Mommy,, that building fall DOWN!" She was visibly upset. At 3, television was very much real to her, whether fictitious or not. She knew that building on the screen really did fall down.
I took the two girls to the living room and put on some cartoons and crawled back into my bed. through the next day the tv remained on, I watched waiting for some glimmers of hope in the mess before me. The newscasters soldiered on looking more and more haggard over the next couple of days, trying to remain stoic in the face of fear.
That day changed a part of me. It changed a part of everyone who watched it unfold before them that morning. It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since that day. My little nursling is now a 10 year old boy. This morning he rose eearly with his daddy, put on his scout uniform and paid tribute to those who lost their lives on that horrible, tragic morning.
We will never forget.