Monday, September 12, 2011

Wham, Bam, Thank you...Santa?

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 being today, I've been really ambivalent as to how to celebrate the day.  DH and I worked for a company that was the helpdesk for Marsh, one of the companies that was in the WTC buildings floors 96 and above in BOTH buildings.  I can't say I knew those people personally, but I dealt with them regularly.  Some were really lovely.  Some were not.  I remember this one guy, who used to call and scream, "I WANT MY LAPTOOOOOPPP!" over and over again until we sent the local techs to his desk.  I remember one lady who was so excited, because her daughter was getting married the summer of 2001 and was hoping for a grandchild.  I remember the second and third level technology teams who worked on site.  I remember seeing all of their names on the list of people lost when the towers collapsed.  Many of them probably went before that, given that they were on the 96th floor on the side of the building where the plane struck.  When our company went out of business in June of 2000 they actually offered me a job if I would transfer up to NY...and work in the WTC...I said no, but I have to admit, it had some appeal.  Single, working in NY, living in a company-owned apartment....but ultimately I couldn't leave my family.  It wasn't really a seriously-considered option, but yes, the "What ifs" crossed my mind a lot.

So what do I do to celebrate this day?  How do I explain the enormity of it to twin 2yo and a 6yo?  Not to mention my DH has never talked about it.  I mean, I realize these people weren't out best friends.  But we recognized NAME after NAME.  Finally, I realized that this day is about the US, but also that we as a family are here, and we have each other.  Maybe it's lame.  Maybe I'm ducking out on the truth.  But I decided today should be a day about family.

So we had a GREAT day!  Homemade breakfast - apples we picked yesterday at the apple farm (BJ Reece - already out of red delicious, but the Staymen Winesaps are DELICIOUS), eggs, bacon, and (sugar & gluten free) pancakes (yep, taste about like you'd imagine, but smother them with enough sugar free syrup, and they taste like soggy cardboard!).  Then we went for a family bike ride.  DH had to pull the twins in the trailer while C rode the trail-a-bike behind me.  We only managed about 4 - 5 miles ('cause Mom sucks), but we had FUN.  Off to BK for "chicken fries" (the babies just abbreviate "chicken nuggets" and "french fries") and fun on the playground.  The girls had the BEST time together.  It was just glorious.  Back home for a short nap.  On the way home, DH and I hit upon the plan to take the girls to the Cumming Fairground for fireworks - "Let's call my parents and celebrate Grandparents day, too!" I said.  Sure, they'd love to come.  Nap from 6 - 7pm while C and I shower and then she makes a very cute card.  Up and at 'em, off to the fireworks!

The fireworks are late starting, and A is just IN A MOOD.  Oh boy, if I thought I knew stubborn!!!!  This girl may just almost out-stubborn me!  I said almost - trust me...she'll learn.  Don't no one mess with MAMA!!  But finally the fireworks start.  A is TERRIFIED.  B is really unsure about this...C is hiding behind Daddy with her hands over her ears, but she's not crying.  I wrap A in my sweatshirt and press her ear to my heart.  She peeks out.  After a couple of minutes, she whispers, "Green."  Green?  No fire-OH MY GOODNESS!!  THAT FIREWORK IS GREEN!!  A second later, "Pink."  YES BABY, YESS!!!!  This little one, who has shown NO interest in identifying colors, correctly identified the color of EVERY SINGLE FIREWORK!!!  "Red."  "Blue."  "Purple."  "Yellow - 'SOK, Mommy, not loud...White."  WHOOHOOO!!!  YOU GO, GIRL!  (Yes, I'm aware it will be 6 months until she identifies colors again, but give me my victories, OK?)

We're leaving, very happy and proud of our country.  We come down the hill and stop at the crosswalk, waiting for the police to tell us we can cross the street.  I notice a man a few people in front of us.  Could that be...?  I lean down to C and whisper, "Hey, don't say anything, but I think SANTA is here in disguise."  I mean the guy is round, with a head full of lovely white hair and a nicely trimmed white beard.  "Santa?" C cries, "Where's Santa?"  She leaps for joy...literally.  "I don't see-"

WHAM!  BAM!!  HOLY CRAP!  She smashes her forehead into my eye socket, crushing the outer eye.  I'm seeing fireworks of my OWN suddenly.  NO, I don't know what color they were.  THEY HURT!  It's that kind of hurt that's so sudden and so intense you can't breathe.  Honestly, it reminded me a lot of when I broke my knee.  A sudden, searing, snapping pain.  I clap my left hand over my left eye and attempt to remember how to suck air IN.  C's nattering on about Santa, when suddenly she looks at me and grows quiet.  Then she bursts into tears.  "I'm SO SORRY mommy," she sobs bitterly.  I'd like to tell her it's OK, it's an accident, but frankly, breathing is a more immediate concern to me.  I try to pat her face and apparently stick my hand over her mouth.  It's not like I know where anything is at the moment...

The lady in front of us keeps turning around to watch us.  My DH was getting annoyed.  As I told you, little was getting through to me other than "INHALE...EXHALE...INHALE...INHALE..."  The lady finally steps back and asks my DH if everything is OK.  He explains the situation.  The woman gives me a sympathetic look.  Then she steps up to the man that started all of this, and whispers in his ear.  By now I can breathe, and I'm raggedly assuring C it's OK, that I will live, but could she PLEASE NOT smack any other parts of me tonight?  The guy stops, looks over his shoulder, and a slow, broad, grin comes over his face.  He slips past the woman, kneels down right in front of C, takes her hand, and presses something into it.  He winks and nods... (YES, I swear to you, he did both)...and says, "You be a good girl, and I'll see you in three months."  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!  I look at C, she looks at me...we can't speak.  I mean, I'm sorry, if you'd been there, you might have heard jingle bells!  She breathlessly gushes, "THANK YOU!"  Once again I'm speechless, but for an entirely different reason.  He stands up, pats C on the head, pats me on the arm, and whispers, "Ho, ho, ho!"  Then the police are motioning us across the street and he's off.  He waves to us as he heads off to the left.  We wave back as we go right.  None of us speak.

We get into the parking lot and almost up to the car when C screams, "I JUST SAW SANTA!!!"  DH and I can hardly speak.  She shows us what he gave her.  It's a wooden coin with a picture of Santa Clause that says, "I got caught being good by Santa."  On the back it says, "Made just for me by Santa's workshop."  That is SO COOL!!  Here is a guy who LOVES what he does.  We discuss how Santa might like to take breaks from time to time and attend various events or take a little vacation.  C can't WAIT to tell everyone at school tomorrow.  That coin is under her pillow and I'm sure the dreams are wonderful ;-)

I'm not sure if I'm going to have a black eye.  If I do, it's a worthwhile reminder.  Love and hope exist all around us.  If we can just hold on to those emotions, and spread the joy, the US...and the world...will be a better place!

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