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A Day Late

2011 September 12

I wanted to write this post yesterday, on September 11, 2011, but decided to spend the day focused on my family instead.

So here it is, ten years and one day after the most tragic day in US history.

The day that was supposed to be the first of a brand new chapter for me.

I moved to New York on September 10, 2001.

I had given it all up on the ground floor in Montreal to pursue my dreams of working in a building in the sky in Manhattan. My journalism degree would finally be put to use as I dreamed of a gig – any gig, really – at a magazine in the city. I had left behind friends, family, skater hubs (who was then skater boyfriend) to “make it there” like millions before me.

And then those two planes hit those towers.

My parents were frantic. Get on a bus and get out of there. My job leads dried up in a matter of moments. Even skater hubs, my biggest supporter, had to admit that heading back home to the safety net of Montreal might not be such a terrible idea. I wandered the city streets aimlessly and watched complete strangers weeping into their coffee cups. I passed by police stations adorned with thousands of flowers and candles, makeshift shrines to the memories that had been made behind their swinging doors. I may have been an impostor, but I stood alongside true New Yorkers one afternoon in Central Park as a fire truck drove by and everyone throughout the entire park, one at a time, got to their feet, applauding and cheering for the heroes sitting inside.

I was searching Craig’s List for sublets, only committing to a month at a time because I had no stability, and couch-surfed among strangers everywhere from the Upper East Side to Astoria (have to admit, I preferred the UES though Queens is lovely). I folded clothes at Zara. I had my own moments weeping on the street corners of Soho. Mainly for the devastation that surrounded me, but partially because I had waited my whole life to make this move, and it was falling apart before my very eyes, and I knew it meant absolutely nothing compared to what the city around me was going through.

And so, three months later, I packed it up and went home. New York didn’t need me crying on its streets. It didn’t need me searching for a job while thousands of its own lost theirs. It didn’t need me to make it there, after all. Ten years later, my path has taken many different turns since then, most of them good ones, but one of the few regrets I have in life is that I didn’t stay. I didn’t try harder. I didn’t couch surf a little longer until opportunity knocked on my door, until I climbed my way to that dream job in the sky.

So when the 10th anniversary came upon us, I, like so many other mothers, tried to think what I could possibly tell Little D to have any of it make sense to her. What could a four-year-old possibly learn from all this sadness? What could she possibly gain from all the heartache? What about this moment in history could actually have a positive impact on her little life?

And I found it.

I didn’t talk to her about terrorism or memorials or the fatherless children being paraded around by the press.

I told her about dreams.

I told her about having them, and making them big.

And most importantly, I told her about not giving up on them.

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Bhp permalink
    September 12, 2011

    Yesterday was tough. I, myself, had a hard time talking to my six year old when he asked,”Why would anyone do that on purpose?” or “Why would God want young people to die?” It brought back a flood of emotions when I thought of my friends who left us so young on that awful day. I also thought about The City and remembered how I felt so much sadness for it. It too was my home for a good part of my younger self. I tried to hold back my tears and not have my voice quiver and calmly explain that there’s good and bad in this world. Tough all arond.

  2. September 12, 2011

    How sad and yet beautiful?…and I am so glad you chose to focus on the dreams.

  3. September 12, 2011

    Well, not staying still worked out, right? I can’t even imagine. The day after such a big move. Ugh.

  4. Karsha permalink
    September 17, 2011

    I couldn’t read this on 9/11 (just too much to take in) but I am so glad I’m reading this now. Thanks for sharing, R. Really, really touching.

  5. September 18, 2011

    I’m so glad I found this today…it’s very touching. On that day my daughter was 6 as we waited for her dad to return home from the city. I’m afraid she saw way too much coverage that day.

    • WWGD permalink
      September 19, 2011

      Wow, am sure your story is far more profound than mine. But thanks for reading, nonetheless đŸ™‚

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