Category Archives: September 11th

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You know you’re in trouble when only one cup of coffee into the morning, your six-year-old kid asks, “Mommy, when the twin towers crumbled in New York City, did babies die?”

I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and wiser or if Dylan is older and wiser, but although I had no idea where the question came from, I felt comfortable – confident, even – answering it.

I’m actually not sure if any babies died on 9-11, but I’d like to believe none did, so I said, “No, sweetie.  The buildings that fell were full of grown ups.  The twin towers were a place where grown ups went to work.  Babies were at home and kids were at school.”

“Were people on fire?” he asked.

“The buildings were on fire,” I said, “so yes, I believe some people were probably on fire.”

Then, “How did the buildings catch fire?”

This is where I lost my footing.  Dylan loves super hero movies that are filled with action, destruction, and good guys and bad guys.  He understands the concept of good and evil in movies.  But in real life, I really, truly, didn’t want to tell him that the reason the twin towers were on fire was because airplanes flew into them.  Airplanes flown by bad guys who purposely hit the buildings filled with innocent people to cause fear, harm, death and destruction.

I was afraid if I answered his question, he’d fear tall buildings or airplanes or both or worse.  But, if I didn’t answer his question, it would’ve been awkward, like he time he asked me how babies were made and I froze because I had no idea how to answer without lying or explaining sex, neither of which seemed like a good option.  In that situation, I was saved by Dylan himself when he interrupted my panicked silence with, “I know, Mommy, babies are made by a baby machine inside women’s bellies.”  Who was I to argue with him?

This kid is chock full of curiosity and difficult questions, especially about death.  The evening before, while watching “Bedtime Stories” with Adam Sandler, Dylan asked me, “Who are your uncles?  Are they dead?”  (In the movie, Adam Sandler’s character is an uncle.)  And then, “What are your grandparents names?  Are they dead?”  (Adam Sandler’s character’s father dies in the beginning of the movie.)  I answered openly and honestly as I had many times before.  “I have an Uncle Richie and an Uncle David.  Richie is alive, but David is dead, so he’s in my heart.”  And then the grandparents.  “Their names are Dorothy and Leo, and Arnold and Ruth.  Yes, they are dead.  They’ve been gone for a long time, but I carry them with me inside my heart.”

“How did they die?” He asked.

“Dorothy, Leo, and Ruth died because they were old and very sick,” I said.

And then I veered into new territory because I had never before told him how Arnold died.  “Arnold died in a car accident.  He was old, too, but he was healthy.  His car was hit by a truck, and that’s how he died.  That’s why it’s so important that we wear seatbelts in the car.”

Dylan asked, “Why didn’t he just stay home?”

I said, “Well, he must’ve had somewhere to go.  He didn’t know he was going to get hit by a car.”

He said, “Mommy, I don’t want you to ever die?”

I said, “I don’t ever want to die either.  Let’s keep each other in our hearts always.  Okay?”

He said, “Okay.”

Then, we finished the movie (while I obsessed about just how freaking much I loved my children).

Back to the next morning.  Back to the twin towers.  Back to, “How did the buildings catch fire?”  Before I had a chance to say anything (or nothing), Riley called from the other room, “Mommy, come quick!  I peed in my pants!”  This time I was saved by Riley, who did, indeed, pee in his pants.  On the floor.  In the bathroom.  Next to the toilet.

Perhaps I should thank Riley for his perfectly timed accident…but I won’t.

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Filed under death, movie, September 11th, tough conversations

I’m Scared & Doing It Anyway

My friend, coach, and mentor, Lauree, has written a memoir called, I’m scared & doing it anyway: How a little white blob changed my life.  I thought you should know about it because she’s awesome and so is her book and you can buy it today.  Right now, actually.  Just click (—>) here (<—).

The blob happens to be a brain tumor (her brain tumor) and the book is, in Lauree’s own words, “about the choices you make when you don’t feel like you have any.”  I had the chance to read an excerpt and I can tell you that it’s also about how unexpected and life changing a health scare – or any kind of scare – can be.  And about how scary things magnify what’s right and wrong in our lives.  And about how even though scary things are scary, they’re also invaluable opportunities to make new and different choices and – just maybe – discover our truest selves.

I planned ahead for this post.  Yesterday afternoon it was a few drafts from being complete when I heard on the news that there were two explosions at the finish line at the Boston Marathon.

The post was supposed to be about how Lauree’s book made me think about motherhood.  Not because brain tumors and motherhood are the same, but because motherhood, on occasion, is a scary proposition.  Like yesterday evening when I tucked my sweet children in bed after learning that among the dead in Boston was an eight-year-old boy.

Motherhood is scary.  So is running a marathon, and so is living through and living with terrorism.  To all of the runners who trained tirelessly to qualify for the Boston Marathon and didn’t get to cross the finish line, my heart aches for you.  To everyone and their loved ones who were hurt, or worse, my entire body aches for you.

Last night, I thought about Lauree’s book launch and how it was too bad that it was going to happen while this big and scary story unfolded.  Then I realized the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

For some of us, the little while blob is a brain tumor.  For some of us, it’s motherhood.  For some of us, it’s the senseless injury and death of hundreds and the fear that grips us when we no longer feel safe in the world in which we live.

I can’t help but think about being in New York City on 9/11 when the ground shook, the sky was black, and the air smelled of death.  On that day, I was scared.  Today, I’m equally stunned and afraid and equally hopeful that I’ll find it within myself to live without fear, expose my heart, and hug the people I love.

I’m scared & doing it anyway.

If you’ve ever felt this way, you’ll love Lauree’ book.  Learn more about it here.  And check out her amazing coaching services here.  And follow her on Facebook and Twitter.  And sign up to read her blog.  And buy her book.  Did I mention that already?

Are you scared & doing it anyway? 

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Filed under book, fear, September 11th