I woke up this morning to my baby boy on the complete opposite side of his crib, full-on happy baby smile for the mommy that appears every morning by his crib. Me. (Ok. It might be the milk that’s getting the happy baby smile.) For a little less than a week, my little’n has been sleeping sans swaddle, and despite his moves like Jagger, has been sleeping most of the night.
I woke up to my little girl’s beaming, happy, smiley face.
Excited to see me, her word – repetitive, “Mami. Mami. Mami. Maaaaami. Mamiiiiiii.”“Yes, Rafa.” I answer.Silence.
She just wanted to know I’d answer.
Today, I am grateful for these moments because I remember that on this day 12 years ago, the only thing I could be grateful for was my life and that I still had it. I wasn’t sure about anything that day. Would I make it out of here? Would I ever see my sister again? Would I live to be a mother? Those are some pretty deep questions for a senior in college living in the greatest city in the world. And I had no answers for them because I didn’t know. I just. didn’t. know.
And if I was honest, for years after that day, I didn’t have answers. It was a time in my life where I knew I wanted a future but couldn’t quite see one – because nothing was clear anymore. That day took away the absolute assurance of a future and replaced it with the possibility of one. It was the day I realized that I was not invisible and that nothing was promised, guaranteed, or cast iron for me.
Today, I’m grateful because I have never, and hopefully will never, have to be in the shoes my mother filled that day. Shoes that watched a black smoke cloud of ash cloak and swallow the city where her daughter lived and breathed, shoes that lived their own moments of uncertainty about her daughter’s future.
Today, I’m grateful because sleeping without swaddles and repetitive Mami calls are my only problems. And what small problems they are for me today, in comparison to the sadness that others will relive every year on September 11. While I’m putting my babies to sleep tonight, some parents are reliving that memory in only their minds.
That is not lost on me. Not today.
Today I am grateful to my children since it was the idea of them, the wishes for them, kept me hoping for my future and kept me moving towards it because even when I wasn’t certain about the future, I was certain about them.
This will never be a day for me that slips by on the calendar without stopping to reflect on how much was taken, how much was lost, and how among ashes, hope can still grow and futures are still born.