Tag Archives: reaction

And then she asked about September 11th

8 Sep

I don’t like to talk about it. People share their stories about where they were – what they were doing – how they reacted – how it made them feel – and I think that’s fine. I just would rather not share. If asked, I will. But, if people are in a group and talking about it – I choose to listen. I think, what does it really matter? Where I was? Recently though, I’ve talked about it more than I have in the past 10 years.

The television station I used to work for asked if they could interview me (along with others who were working on that day) to talk about what it was like for us. Because I want to help my old station, I said sure. (Here is that interview.) My memory of my events on that day is blurry but I remember enough to talk a bit about it. It wasn’t until Nia asked me about it that I realized – I’m going to have to talk about this. But not about where I was and what I was doing – actually about it. The heartbreaking tragedies.

It began all because her school called and reminded us to wear red, white and blue for their Patriot Day recognition. She told me, “That’s because planes crashed into the obelisks in Washington D.C.” I asked her where she learned that and she said her teacher told the class about it. Say what you want about Georgia public education but I am sure her teacher did not have that wrong and said New York City. That was the way an 8-year-old heard what her teacher taught. Her teacher taught about the memorials along with the events – Nia heard what she heard.

I proceeded to tell Nia what happened, to make sure she understood. Four planes with many people on them crashed into two very tall buildings in New York City called the World Trade Center Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. So many people died, Bean. So many. Here’s what happened during/after my explanation:

Five-year-old Nate was just getting out of the bath – he was chewing gum and was naked. He started blowing a whistle. Nia asked, “Didn’t the pilots see the buildings?”

I had to pause to think about how to tell her. “Well, you see, people who don’t like the United States, people call them terrorists, made the planes crash.”

Nate returns to blow the whistle, naked, after I just shooed him away. “Why didn’t the pilots tell them to go away?”

“Because the other people had things to hurt the pilots and took over.” In that same breath, I tell Nate to get dressed for the third time.

“Did everyone from the U.S. on the plane die?”
“Yes, baby, but there were more than just people from the U.S. on those planes and in those buildings.”

Nate, now getting dressed, chimes in with concern for the first time, “Did daddy die?”
“No, buddy, daddy’s not dead. But many families lost their daddies and mommies and even children in this.”

Nia adds a new thought, “Did the buildings break in half?”
“Kind of, yes. They collapsed.”
“Did they fall on other buildings near them and kill those people too?” Nia asks with more worry in her voice.
“Um, well, I’m not sure about that. There were so many people in those two big buildings, Bean. I don’t know about the nearby buildings.”
“How many?
“Thousands. How many are in your school?”
“Like, 800 or something.”
“Well, it would be almost four of your schools. That’s how many people died in those buildings.”
“Oh. My.”
Nate brings us back to kid speak, “What state were the buildings?”
“New York.”
“Spiderman lives in New York. Did he die too?”

No. You don’t get to read my response to that. Sigh.

I went from not wanting to talk about it, to really talking about it. Where were you when you told a child about it? I can’t even imagine the children who lost loved ones – or the ones who watched it happen. It’s so very difficult – and it hurts. I will never forget. Because of the loss and sadness – of course – but also because I think I’m going to be clarifying quite a few things with them over the years. I’m so – deeply – sorry.

Ten years on Sunday for many of us. Time has stopped for those who were just going about their daily lives at those places or had to say goodbye. I will remember.

The First Week of First Grade

7 Aug
The Night Before
Her new black shoes, supposed to still be in the box, are on her feet as she prances around the house. They sparkle and she loves them. She loves the dress she picked to wear on the first day as well, but I won’t let her hold a dress rehearsal. The dress needs to stay clean.She tells me she wants me to put her hair in sponge curlers like her Lola did. (Something I’ve never done before.) Her Hannah Montana backpack from Honey is packed and waiting to be worn. She’s all set.Meanwhile, I nervously try to wrap the strands of her hair around the pink curlers. The big ones go on top right? Am I using too much hair? Andrew: I don’t think that’s how my mom does it. Nia: It feels like when Lola does it. Me: Nia, I hope you won’t be too sad if you don’t have curls tomorrow.
She's Off!  

The First Day
She wakes up with waves instead of curls. They work just fine and she is happy with them. (Phew.) Her backpack still looks giant on her even though she’s grown. Nate and I walk her to the bus and take what will be our traditional first day of school picture. (You have them too, right?)

She says her first day was fun and that she even talked out loud in class. She said they could only talk when they held the bear. When it was her turn, she told everyone that her name was Antonia (or Nia, she couldn’t remember what name she used and she points this out to everyone she tells the story to), that she liked playing outside and with her Barbies, that she was a 10 for the day (they measured how they were feeling like a thermometer) and that her favorite food was her mommy’s spaghetti. (Awesome!) She told me everyone is nice, even the boy who was mean last year. (Phew, again.)

The First Week
Nia was the “helper” for the week with a boy named Anthony (also ruled nice by Nia). She brought home homework each night – it was already finished by the time I got to see it. Eight spelling words like a, at, cat, the and counting objects and filling in the missing numbers. (“It’s too easy,” she says. I tell her to keep doing her best and that I’m sure it will get harder.) I was supposed to read her a story each night but she read the story to me. (And skipped ahead in the book.) On one homework assignment, she was supposed to put the words in alphabetical order – she did that sure, but then she spelled out other words that began with the other letters (even, first …).

She told me she didn’t like Phys. Ed. – that they made her do jumping jacks and she had to count them like this, 1,2,3,1 – 1,2,3,2 – 1,2,3,3 – and she counted them all out to 10 for me. She then asked, “Momma, what keeps our heart from bouncing around in our bodies?” “What color is our heart?” What does it look like? Where are our lungs? How does our brain stay up in our head?” … I tried to answer as many of them as I could. (I now call her the Constant Questioner because I feel like she just keeps firing them at us all day. One of my favorites, “Who made God?” I didn’t even know where to begin.)

Overall, Nia had a great week. Not only did she start first grade, she also started a yearlong gymnastics class. So far, she loves both. She said she told her school teacher she was a 10 each day because she was happy to be at school. She asked me why she couldn’t have gymnastics every day. All I can hope is that all the weeks go as well as this one did.

Congratulations on your first week of first grade Bean! It’s so much fun sharing in your adventures and your stories (heck, even your questions!).

Mixed Emotions after American Idol Announcement

22 May

I think this video of Nia and Nate pretty much captures the way many people felt after watching this season’s American Idol finale.


The Future of Our Country

25 Feb

Nia, this morning at breakfast:  “We get to watch American Idol tonight and have popcorn!”

Andrew: “No sweetie, not tonight.”

Nia, excitement dampened with disappointment: “Whyyyy?”

Andrew:  “President Obama is going to talk on tv.”

Nia:  “Again?!  He was just on.  He talks a lot.”

(In case you didn’t know, she “voted” for Obama in her school election so this is one reaction that has nothing to do with Republican or Democrat.  It’s all Idol – a possible future political party.)


4 Sep

I would love to tell you all about my first day of work right now.  I would love to tell you how it was really great.  That the only “bad” things that happened were that my shoes made my feet bleed and that my boss above my boss had to inform me I was violating the dress code with my very cute capris.  I would love to tell you how they decorated my desk with streamers, yellow paper plates cut into suns and Starburst candy.  I know you’d like to know how I walked everywhere and everyone I met seemed really happy that I was there.  I wish I could tell you how they all made me feel so welcome and how I think I’m really going to like my job and co-workers.

It would be so great to tell you all of that but I’m super exhausted and must get to sleep to start it all over again.

Before I go though, there is one thing I have the energy to share – I’m really looking forward to another day there and hope the kids keep having great days too.

Things Not to Say to a Mom Who’s Going back to Work

30 Aug

The following comments all come with a hint of snootiness from Stay-At-Home Moms I’ve come to know around town.  They make it pretty clear that I’m no longer in their “club.”

“Oh, you’re putting the kids in child care?”

“I guess you just have to do what you have to do.”

“That drive is awful.  I hated it and my kids were always so exhausted when I picked them up from day care.”

“You’re thinking about that day care?  I’ve heard some unsettling things about that day care.” (FYI – We didn’t pick that day care.)

“My daughter didn’t like that After-School program.”

“You are going to hate it when it rains.  The drive is even worse when it rains.”

“You’re going to leave for work that early?”

“You’re going to get killed on gas prices.”

“Well, if you say it’s worth it.”

“You have to drive how far every day?”

“Wow.  That’s going to be a really long day for your kids.”

“I’m sure you are going to miss all that quality time you get to spend with Nate.”

As if I didn’t feel bad/guilty/unsure enough about going back to work. Thanks for pointing out the obvious and for the support.  It would be different if they said what they said because they were genuinely concerned.  They aren’t.  They say it as they look down their nose at me.  I try to tell myself that they would do the same thing if they were in our position and given this opportunity.  Of course, I’m sure they would disagree.


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