Whether you have stumbled upon this blog or opened on purpose, there will be no political leanings to be found in this post. Do not get me wrong. I am passionately devoted to a set of values and beliefs that come from a place of prayer, research, and old-fashioned experience. This is not an attempt to sway, cajole, or persuade anyone to “see it my way.” There are too many other opportunities for those conversations. Yes, conversations. Have we forgotten how to talk? Debate? Is it just me, or does it seem as if social media readily fans the flames of dissent? It was most obviously already there. And our news outlets are usually part of the egging on process. I did not point to a party, a group, or a particular subset. This is what I personally see.
Facebook was created in 2004 and followed by Twitter two years later. Instagram had its beginnings in 2010. Since then, many a friend, foe, celebrity, and everyday person has voiced an opinion, been silenced, unfriended, unfollowed, blocked, reported, and spat upon (just kidding… maybe?). As I was driving my preschooler to the pediatrician for a check-up (call when you get there and get scanned for a temp… so unreal), my mind traveled back to another place and time on the very same road. Times were different then. Technology was not what it is now, and I miss those days.
I have traveled the same backroads for many years getting my three children to the pediatrician. My first was born in 2001. I had an easy pregnancy. Harder delivery. A combination of factors led to some postpartum depression. Everything was going smoothly as far as adjusting to having a new baby and I was completely smitten with him and with motherhood in general. But women sometimes have these issues and I was not immune. Try as I may, I could not shake it. I felt down and cried often. Yes, this is going somewhere.
On September 11, 2001, I dropped off my precious seven month old at his daycare and went to work as a remedial reading coach. Around 9 am, our principal called us to the office and told us to watch the television in the conference room. I was floored…. so much so that I had to ask our school counselor what was happening. Then, we watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center. THEN we were told some planes were missing. Our area has a major oil refinery and a shipyard that builds warships…. my baby’s daycare was in front of the shipyard. My principal sternly directed me to go get him. Parents began feverishly checking out their kids from school. I do not remember anything after that except for holding onto my child and watching the news until late in the night.
I remember thinking that this was a scary world to raise a child. My husband would not let me check the mail… remember anthrax? Keep in mind, this has been almost twenty years ago. As news continued to unfold about the terrorist attacks from day to day, there was a tangible sense of togetherness in our country… no certain race, religion, or politics stood out… just the fact that we were all Americans and we were all in this together. It became acceptable to reach across political lines, pray, help our fellow neighbor regardless of differences, sing God Bless America….we were seemingly blind to the insignificance of our differences.
Now, about that postpartum issue. For some reason, the attacks on September 11 made me “snap out of it.” Postpartum depression is very real and it is perfectly acceptable to get help. But on that day, I decided that I had to pull out of it and realized that my child needed me to be strong. Twenty years later, that has not changed. Now I have three children and they still need me to be strong. And it is HARD. The coronavirus, political unrest, and other issues our country is facing has made me realize that we are not united as before. Rather, we are more divided than ever. I wish September 11 never happened. But my country came together. I miss that.