Yesterday Maggie learned to tie her shoes. Yes, she is 3. And I never taught her. She just learned. “Aren’t I amazing?” She asks with a look of pure glee in her eyes when she shows the big kids, just home from school . Yes, in fact, you are.
She was playing with a pair of Moira’s old shoes that almost-but-not-quite fit her. “Can you untie these knots?” She asked at one point. I was distracted, puttering, sweeping… busy. Knots untied, I handed the pink and white saddle shoes back to her. Then I hear, “Mommy, I tied my shoes!”
“Yes, great, mmm.”
And then about 10 minutes later, I finish what I am doing and sit down on the floor beside her and I look, really look, at her feet. And Holy Cow, she had TIED HER SHOES.
“Maggie, you tied your shoes!”
She looks up at me with a quizzical smile. “I told you that!”
Well, yes, I guess you did.
The kids are off to school and Mags is watching her show. The radio is playing bagpipes and the broadcasting the live memorials in honor of 9/11. I think of the bagpipes that played at our wedding… I think of the afternoon, post 9/11 that I got the phone call from my husband-to-be saying he was being deployed. “I can’t tell you where or for how long, but I leave tomorrow morning.”
Twelve years later and we’ve been married for 10 years and 3 kids and the sound of bagpipes have way of invoking tears and foggy memories. Weddings and funerals and sadness and joy. It all blends together on this bright, warm September morning.
The kids asked this morning at breakfast about what today is and what is means. How do you explain 9/11 to a 9, 8, and 3 year old? They are too young to understand… and is it even possible to understand evil? Over bagels and peaches, I tried to focus on what they can understand. Terrible events took place, but brave people jumped into help others. Many, many people died. We try to honor those by being good people, by helping others, being kind, and by taking pride in our country, in America, in it’s brave and faithful citizens. The events sent your Daddy off to war before he was your daddy. The day was shattering, life altering, terrifying and it is so important not to forget that day and those events. It is important to remember what happened and say a prayer for the people who lost their lives. And it is essential that we honor those lives and our country by embracing all that makes our country and it’s citizens strong, brave, free Americans. It is up to us to carry the torch of liberty and pass it on to generations to come… Stand up for what you believe in. Use your voice and your talent and your passion to make this America a better place. That’s what I want for my children.
Where did the summer go? Wasn’t it just yesterday we were sitting out on the patio and I was hoping for a long, tranquil summer, filled with lazy mornings and dusky evenings, lingering in the backyard. And now – oh, my! – school started yesterday and I am the parent of a 4th grader and a 3rd grader. Bright eyed, smiling Sam who worries about fixing his hair just right and dark eyed Moira with the slow smile who tries so hard to be grown up. I love my kids!
And Miss Maggie is not to be out done, repeating stories about desks in rows, play yard adventures and cranky teachers as if they were her own and not borrowed from the older kids. I worry about Maggie. She’ll start school soon and though it is a normal rite of passage, the whole peanut allergy thing makes me crazy. She’s excited and thrilled and I don’t want her picking up on my anxiety. We just practice A LOT…
“What do you do if your school friend brings in cupcakes and offers you one?”
“I say I can’t eat it because I have a peanut allergy. And I never eat food unless you tell me its okay!”
Good plan. And as long we NEVER deviate from it we’ll be fine. But the consequences of forgetfulness are dire. Sometimes I feel like the constant vigilance makes me weary… and truthfully I feel a little alone in the battle against nuts! Maggie, Moira and Sam are actually great, but they are kids and the weight of it should not fall on them.
Anyway! Happier thoughts! Though summer is coming to a close, we have many warm autumn days to look forward to, apples to pick and pumpkins to carve….