I was on my way back to Philly from Boston. I was visiting Jonathan who was staying with my parent while he did a rotation in the area. My flight left at 8: 30 AM. I was 7 months pregnant.
The next day I was back at work, sitting at my desk when a friend and colleague came by and said she just heard a plane hit the World Trade Center. We quickly got on the Internet and went right to CNN. It was about 9 AM. The Internet was not yet jammed with traffic. There was a picture - it almost did not look really. Smoke was bellowing out of one of the towers. We assumed a small plane must have lost control and tragically hit the tower. We had no idea what was still to come.
We soon found out another plan hit the other tower. Word of other lost plans soon began to circulate. Our office was gathered for an emergency meeting. I worked for a federal agency, right next door to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. While nobody had details, at this point it was assumed these were acts of terrorism. For our safety, we were sent home.
I went home and sat on my couch alone for the rest of the day watching images one could not even have imagined only hours earlier. With the rest of my family in Boston, there was no where to go. No way to get home. No air travel. All bridges between Boston and Philly, closed. It was a feeling I will never forget.
Friends near by who knew I was alone and pregnant invited me to come for dinner. I didn't really want to go. It felt like too much energy to muster when I felt physically and emotionally exhausted. In the end I went and was glad I did. It was better to not be alone.
It was Sweet Pea I was pregnant with at the time. Frankly, I think if I hadn't been pregnant, I would have been overflowing with anxiety. Not that I wasn't anxious as the events unfolded, but I think, even then, some motherly instincts must have kicked in and allowed me to remain as collected as possible under the circumstances. I do remember thinking how sad to bring a child into such a fucked up world.
She is now 7 1/2. She does not know what 9/11 is. How do you tell them about something that that you cannot explain - knowing that all it will do will case fear within them? Fear every time they get on a plane, or find themselves at the top of a high rise building. Maybe it won't be intense fear but they certainly will longer have the luxury of living in the protected world they now know. None of us do.