It was the big kick-off meeting for our Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) at First Assembly of God Church on September 11, 2001. There was an energy and excitement that morning as moms and their babes gathered together for the first time since late spring.
We were smiling and laughing. It was going to be a happy day. While driving to the church in my mini-van, however; with Aaron and Ike buckled up and safely inside, I heard that a plane had crashed and my heart felt sad. I tucked that news away in my head and focused more on the excitement ahead.
I confess I was distracted when I walked into the church and the tragedy left my mind. Soon I was addressing all the moms, welcoming them back, telling them of our upcoming plans. I was telling them that one of our MOPS moms was currently in labor when precisely at that very moment, a friend received a phone call.
She left the room and when she came back, she motioned to me and I could tell she needed to speak to me urgently. I stopped speaking for a second and listened to her whispering the most distressing news I had ever heard in my life. Planes were crashing into buildings, people were dying, the world was changing. And now it was my responsibility to tell these mommies what I had just learned.
The mood had been merry and I knew that what happened next was going to seriously change. I paused, measured my words carefully and I gave these mothers, some of whom had husbands traveling, the bits of news I knew. A sense of profound sadness and fear filled the place. Some mothers left immediately, others began making calls and our little safe haven felt brittle and shaky.
Most Americans can recall what they were doing September 11, 2001. This year feels different now because I am the mama of a Soldier. I have a child willing to defend our country with his life.
I remember when my OS was completing his application to West Point. I remember standing in my bedroom and my son reading the essay portion of the application. He wrote something about it’s one thing to say you support your country. It’s another to be willing to die for it. He never faltered in his speech but recited it with conviction.
I listened and again, I paused.
I could barely contain myself and told my boy, “I need a minute here, Baby.” Taking a deep breath, I explained to him that in order for me to hear the rest of the essay, I had to perform the Herculean task of forgetting that the young man who wrote these powerful words was once a tiny baby inside my tummy. Nate complied but I don’t think he got it. Lord willing, one day he will when Nate and his wife have a child. It’s funny how that happens, huh?
Today I look at the flag waving in my front yard and the rows of flags hanging all down my street. All is calm and we are soon going to our middle OS’s first football game. In honor of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, I’m wearing an American flag pin, even wore it to work out at the gym.
In addition, I’ve got my West Point hat on all day even though I was having a good hair day!
We truly live in the land of the free and home of the brave. I love my country and praise the Lord that I am an American. September 11th is more significant having a son in the military and I will never be the same.