Today is the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks of America. I'd rather not talk about it.
I'll talk about the Space Shuttle disasters. I'll talk about the wrath of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. I'll talk about last spring's tornadoes that killed so many. They were all unexpected and sad events, as was 9-11.
But none of them made me feel vulnerable like the attacks on America. I like to be in control. I like to at least feel like I have some control, even if it's really just an illusion. September 11, 2001 spun my world -- our world -- out of control. And that's why I don't want to talk about it.
However, we don't live in a bubble. 9-11 is part of the history of our country and, whether I like it or not, part of my own life history.
The timeline of events as they happened at our house is a little hazy. I think the first tower had been struck and it seemed like a freak accident, so Mike took Annie to preschool.
I remember calling him on the cell phone when the second tower was struck. Instead of going on to the office, he came home and we spent the morning watching the television in disbelief.
After a few hours, once it was clear that America was under attack, I went to pick up Annie. I was worried that something might happen in our city and I might be unable to reach her. I could barely breathe at the thought.
In the late afternoon, I talked to my mom on the phone. She wasn't sure what had happened, but she heard and felt an explosion in their city. There is a large Air Force base there and we were fearful that the attacks were continuing, even though air traffic had been frozen by then. We later found out the "explosions" were the sonic booms of fighter jets taking off from the Air Force base.
I went to Mass that night. It was very crowded for a Tuesday night. People stood and called out intentions for prayer, something that is out of the norm during Mass. My fears did not go away at church, but I did feel some comfort in being there.
That night, I insisted that Annie and Charlie sleep with us. Mike thought I was being silly and overly dramatic. I didn't care. I wanted them close to me. They were oblivious to the events of the day, so the family bed for the night wasn't for their benefit, but for mine.
In the days ahead, I would watch countless hours of coverage on the news. I would become fixated on the fact that very few body bags were needed at the World Trade Center site. I would remember stories of those who died and those were left behind. The man from New Jersey who died because he stayed with someone who couldn't get out of one of towers; his wife said she knew he was "working his rosary beads." Lisa Beamer, the pregnant wife of Flight 93 hero Todd Beamer. The man whose life was saved because he chose to take his child to kindergarten that day, which delayed his arrival at the Twin Towers.
I remember it. I just don't want to talk about it.