September 11, 2020 – “Mommy why are those flags there?”

Today began like every other week day morning. I wrestled my 3 and 4 year old daughters awake, and ultimately continued the wrestling match until they were begrudgingly dressed for preschool. While we were on our way to preschool, we passed by our local utility company and it happened… the moment I’d thought about on this day for the past 4 years. ‘How do I explain to my kids what happen on Sept. 11, 2001?” A moment I didn’t know the answer to and was completely unprepared for.

“Mommy look!” As my 4 year old point in awe of the dozens of American Flags that lined the road. “Aren’t they beautiful” I replied. “BUT WHY ARE THEY THERE?” she asked… I paused for a moment to consider how I was going to answer this question without causing fear in their hearts. As I opened my mouth to speak I was flooded with emotions. I had no idea where it was coming from and had a hell of a time trying to hold it back. 

How do you explain to an innocent heart the magnitude of evil and hate, and what people are truly capable of. As I tried to suppress the lump in my throat and their tears welling up in my eyes, I simply said, “baby, this is a day you will learn about in school. It was a really sad day, where really bad people hurt a lot of innocent people. But, what is important to know is… out of really sad and hard moments, you find the heros, you find love, courage and hope.”

The questions continued and so did the tears and my unsuccessful attempt to hold back my emotions. This is the world we live in… and how do I prepare these beautiful and innocent souls for what is happening outside of our bubble. I don’t know. I hope I will. But ultimately I pray for the strength in really sad moments to seek out the heros, the love, the courage and the hope. 

I say a post the other day that simply said, “I miss September 12, 2001. It was a day we call came together, as one, in unity and in strength.” 

As I remember the vivid events of September 11th, sitting in my dorm room my freshman year at UF and watching the news as the 2nd plane flew into the Twin Towers. I am once again humbly reminded how sacred every moment of every day is. Those affected by this tragedy and the events that ensued remain in my heart and prayers today and every day. 

As we find ourselves, current day, in the midst of a pandemic, social injustice and societal unrest, I quote the modern day Cinderella, “have courage and be kind.”