September 12, 2010
The Ecstasy and Agony
It was on the morning of September 6th 2001 when my world was first rocked. My wife was having a scheduled C-section that morning at 8 am, but I was there around 6 am for prep along with my parents. I was about to become a father for the first time.
In no way was I overconfident that I would know what I was doing. This was a trait I learned from MY father. NEVER underestimate any challenge or anybody. I remember putting on the hospital scrubs and that mask on my face and thinking "Nope, not cut out out to be wearing this garb on a regular basis. Doesn't look too good on me either." Once I was outfitted, a nurse asked me if I wanted to watch the birth of my daughter from side A (The side where all the action occurred) or side B (The other side). Not wanting to underestimate what I was about to view, I quickly chose side B. I could have chosen side A, but I thought it would be inappropriate to ask the medical staff if I could have a shot of Jack Daniels.
Shortly thereafter, I was holding our new baby girl. It was exhilarating, but yet odd at the same time. Again, I was thinking, "You mean I'm TOTALLY responsible for your well being now?" To me, a daunting thought indeed. However, I knew this was one responsibility I would be taking very seriously. "Never underestimate any challenge."
The next 5 days were as you might expect. There were lots of hugs, kisses, diaper changes, late night feedings, burpings and spit ups. I had taken some time off from work and my wife was on maternity leave. As any first time parent knows, it was an eye opening experience, or should I say eye closing experience since we weren't sleeping much. This was one ACTIVE little girl. To this day that characteristic holds so true. I was "in love" again. I jokingly thought to myself, "Is this what they mean by TOUGH LOVE?" I'm not certain I'd ever been this exhausted, but yet I was mesmerized by this tiny little baby and that she was my daughter.
"My Little Girl" turns nine this week. She is a beautiful burst of energy. It would not be inaccurate to call her the energizer bunny of the family. She's outgoing and generally cheerful, a sunny disposition indeed. It's utterly fascinating to watch her grow up, especially for someone who loves to figure people out, like me. Sometimes I wish I could slow things down a bit. "My Little Girl" is beginning to grow up.
Five days after my daughter's birth, I was at home helping take care of my infant, when there was a knock at my bedroom door around 8:45 am. It was my father. I'm paraphrasing but I think he said, "Son, I think you may want to come out here and take a look at the t.v. A plane has just slammed into one of the World Trade center buildings in New York." A little bleary eyed, I walked into the family room and looked at the horrifying events that would continue to unfold. The second tower was hit by another plane and people were beginning to jump off of the buildings. The Pentagon was hit by a third plane and there was mass hysteria in both Washington D.C. and New York. Speculation was rampant that a fourth plane may be headed for the White House. Really? I can't believe what my eyes are seeing. Thankfully, Todd Beamer and others, "Let it Roll" and ensured the symbol of our nations government wouldn't take a hit as well.
Looking back nine years, it's hard to believe it, but Osama Bin Laden was not a household name at that time. Oh, I knew who he was. I've always been addicted to the news. I was just having a hard time wrapping my arms around the fact that this guy who frequents caves in Afghanistan was wreaking havoc in two of America's most important cities. Again, my mind was churning. "Does this guy have any idea who he's messing with?" Heck, my father worked for the world's greatest military for 23 years. I knew "our boys" would end up taking care of business.
I remember looking at the t.v. screen a few days later as George W. Bush was in New York City standing in the back of a pickup truck with his arm around one of the firefighters. He had a megaphone in one hand and his other arm was wrapped around the man's shoulder. I began to get chills going down my spine as he said, "I hear you. America hears you. And the people who knocked those buildings down are going to hear from all of us soon." The New York crowd went wild. I was proud to be an American. Moreover, I thought, "man you ticked off the wrong city and country." The big apple and the U.S. Military are forces to be reckoned with. I had a lump in my throat and I felt a sense of U.S. pride. I was cheering inside already for our boys about to go and battle. "Never underestimate your opponent."
FIVE DAYS EARLIER, I HAD BEEN CHEERING INSIDE MYSELF FOR AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT REASON. FIVE DAYS AND TWO EVENTS: THE WORLD HAD DEFINITELY CHANGED
You may also find Kevin over on A.E.S.O.P. Tells where he has shared his story The Ecstasy and The Agony.
Never Forget. Where were You on 9.11.2001 and what were you doing? What were you thinking? How has 9.11.2001 impacted your life?