Progress, Apology, Thanks

M has a sniffle, and I was worried that would jeopardize this whole project. But last night went the same as and maybe a little better than the night before. More wake ups (9pm, midnight, and I think a bunch of stirrings in the wee hours), but less time to get her back to sleep, and a bunch of times she fussed and started to cry and then got herself back to sleep. Hurrah!

Several posts by other bloggers yesterday made me think about what I’d written (and not written) that day, and why, and now I want to write a little about why it seemed ok to post nothing but the mundane details of our family’s sleep life on the anniversary—the big, round five-year anniversary—of such an awful day. In retrospect, I think it would have been better to hold the ordinary post and, in the absence of anything to say in observance of the day, have a bloggy moment of silence here.

But before I read, yesterday, a few really moving reflections on the anniversary, I felt very, very far from that day five years ago. Geographically, chronologically, and emotionally far. And I’d gotten so used to “the tragedy of 9/11” being used as a rhetorical tool in the service of wrong-headed foreign policy and sensationalistic, ratings-seeking TV programming that I’d started tuning out most talk about it and had pretty much disconnected the part of me that hears words about terrorism and tragedy from the part that, five years ago, spent weeks and weeks in a state of raw anxiety and sadness over what happened.

What other writers—people who live much closer to the physical landmarks of this tragedy than I—wrote yesterday made me remember that before it was a trope, before it had a name, before it was fodder for bumperstickers and justification for an unjust war, September 11, 2001 was a clear fall day that turned into a nightmare that stripped what had seemed to be a solid, certain world down to its naked fragility.

Thank you, Moxie and Brooklyn Girl and those who wrote comments on your blogs yesterday. Here in the middle of the country, September 11, 2006 was a cloudy day. But I felt the sharpness of that blue New York sky with you.

And as I kept going yesterday, as we all do, with the ordinary tasks of my day and night—as I woke up again and again to soothe my daughter back to sleep—I could see more clearly that lying next to a crying toddler, her loud mad voice in my ear and her snot soaking my pajama top, is not just drudge work, is not just a chore; it is an exquisite privilege. To be here for this, to be alive for this. We are so lucky to have this life.


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