I was teaching on September 11. Our principal summoned us to the conference room and this is the first image we saw. (Image: Google)

I am writing and I am literally sitting in a booth at a Mexican restaurant… a rare “date night.” Our daughter is cheering tonight and my mother in law has the little guy. Adult time. Rare and welcome to someone raising a preschooler later in life (also a teacher so doubly grateful for adult conversation). My husband is humoring me. I really do not mean to be rude. He knows writing is my version of therapy. It is crowded in here. There are lots of conversations going on and the television in the bar area is blaring with the latest news on a possible tropical storm. I see some people I know from work. To my right are four women with September 11 remembrance shirts on and I really want to tell them I like the shirts. The sharp contrast of sitting with my husband while eating dinner and listening to laughter on this tragic anniversary is not lost on me. If one can feel blessed and selfish concurrently, then I absolutely do. Such a sad day of remembrance mixed with the mundane….

We pay for our food and go riding around as the game does not start for another hour . I am guilty of looking at Facebook when I should just be enjoying the free time and decide to put my phone down. There are some cows grazing in a rolling, green pasture. I love cows. In a conflicted and sometimes scary world, they are unaware and unmoved. They just keep on living. I read stories earlier in the day about wives that just had to keep on living when their husbands died on September 11. They had children that needed them. I had my first child seven months before the attacks. I suffered from postpartum depression and decided on that fateful day that he needed me, too. These women are among the heroes that day. They just kept going.

We head back to the football field and find some seats. As is the custom at sporting events, we stand in honor of the American flag and listen to the National Anthem. I miss our son who is away at college as he used to play on the same field, but am nonetheless grateful to see our daughter cheer. I cannot complain as there are many parents on that fateful day nineteen years ago that would have given anything to see what their children would have become. I learned today that the youngest victim of September 11 was a two year old little girl…. one year younger than my youngest blessing. She was with her parents on a plane. They were taking her to Disneyland. I feel a tinge of remorse as I recall my impatient tone with my youngest the day before.

Life is unpredictable. Little did I know that tragic day that my seven month old would grow up and play college baseball, that I would have a daughter three years later, and another son thirteen years after that. I did not know that I would still be teaching, lose my two grandmothers, build a home, go through many hard times and good times…and the list goes on. But maybe that is the whole point. Those people did not know. They did not know that it would be the last date night, peaceful drive, ballgame, goodnight kiss, story time…or any other seemingly normal event. So tonight I will remember those lost and those who have lost. Thank you for inspiring the rest of us to make memories in the seemingly mundane. Because of you, I will put down the phone and take in the scenery, plan more date nights, and be more patient with those I love most.

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