Friday, September 11, 2009

Death, Life, and Miracles

Yesterday, I was feeling all scared about the idea of having another child, because of the change that a new baby brings to your life. And even though I have been through it before, I think bringing a second child into this world will be almost more difficult than bringing the first. All of the sudden, I can’t hand off my baby to my husband and go relax; now I will have to hand off both babies. And while he is dealing with a screaming tantrum with one, I have to be taking care of another. Yes, so goes the life of parents. Doesn’t make it any less scary.

And then I woke up this morning. The Today Show and Meredith Viera reminded me that today is September 11th. That awful day, 8 years ago, when my mom came into my room and said, “Two planes just hit the World Trade Center.” And I thought, “What is the big deal?” Thinking that the pilots of those small planes would surely get into a lot of trouble with the FAA for flying so close to buildings. And then, I turned on the TV, and me and Peter Jennings became fast friends. I didn’t change from ABC for the rest of the morning. I called everyone I knew, those who I didn’t call, called me. I remember watching the towers fall...ABC had cut away to Washington for a moment and when they came back, you couldn’t tell what had happened. Peter thought there had been an explosion at the base of the South tower, not realizing that it had collapsed. And when they showed the replay, he just was silent. As was everyone else.

I remember looking at the footage of the South Tower, and thinking, “Oh my God, all of those people are trapped in a collapsed building, they will never be able to reach them in time to save them. Surely people are hurt and bleeding and they are going to die a long and terrible death.” It took me a couple of days to realize that those people had died a terrible death as ABC had cut away to the Pentagon. That moment changed me. It impacted the decisions I made in my life, especially over the next several months dramatically, and not always in a good way. I lived for the day, instead of thinking things through. I was quite unstable for a while there, not sure of my life or what was going to happen in the future.

I was thinking of this as I got in my minivan to drive Sam to daycare and myself to work today. As I turned on 101.9, The Mix (in Chicago), and Eric and Kathy are having their 10th Annual 36 Hour Radio-thon for Children’s Memorial Hospital. For those of you not from the Chicago area, Children’s Memorial is a great hospital for kids. They do a lot of research, and take great care in coordinating the child’s care with all the doctors involved, and focus on the parents as well. They take on the rare and deadly diseases that other hospitals give up on. Eric and Kathy have this fundraiser every year, and every year they have parents tell their heartbreaking stories of survival and loss. And every year I listen to the stories and every year, I wind up crying on the way to work. This year, the stories made me think of blogs that I read, from Heather who lost her Maddy; to Hope’s Mama, who lost her daughter while she was in labor and had to deliver her sleeping; to poor Mirne, who has lost not one, not two, but three children.

And I remembered something. I don’t want to say that I realized something, because that would imply that I’d had an epiphany of some sort. I simply remembered that a child, every child, is a gift. And to have a happy, healthy child is an even more amazing gift. To have a good, uneventful pregnancy like I did, (except of course for the stabbing pains in my ass…but they were worth it) to have a labor which was appropriately painful, and to get a healthy, happy, beautiful daughter is a miracle. All children are miracles. I will try my hardest to keep this in mind when Workaholic and I continue on our journey of being parents. And when I forget, just whack me in the back of the head…and maybe then, I’ll remember. There is plenty to be scared about, but the risks are worth the reward.

(this was taken about 8 months ago...but she still looks just as angelic when she is sleeping)

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