My first child was born on September 11, 1999. When 9/11 only stood for the 11th day of the 9th month. When my mom’s flight from Montana was scary only because she might not arrive before the baby was born. When the New York skyline was only a bunch of buildings I saw in movies.
All that changed on my baby’s second birthday. Her special day became a symbol of chaos and loss and mourning. I cried for those who lost their lives, then cried more for those who survived and had to find a way to go on.
Somehow, amidst all the sadness, I threw a party. While people were searching desperately through the rubble I was hanging streamers and singing Happy Birthday.
Later I realized how therapeutic that party had been. It forced me to turn off the TV, to re-focus on something happy. It brought my closest friends and family into my home at a time when I needed them there. Most importantly it gave me a reason to smile, even laugh, on a day when it seemed impossible.
I still remember where I was the moment that second plane hit. I, like every person in America, will never forget. Fortunately, I have something to celebrate on that day as well. So every year on September 11 I turn off the TV, gather my family together, and have a party.