I don’t know what it is about September. Lots of life altering things have happened in September. Specifically, September 11 and 12. Those dates have a lot of significance for me for many different reasons.
September 11, 2000 was the night before my third daughter was born. The one we named Savannah … a name I absolutely loved. I wrote about that once here. Savannah changed our lives and I have no doubt can change the world. She was born with bright red (really it was orange) hair and I’ve always thought she’s been something of a firecracker ever since.
September 11, 2001 was, of course, the day America’s history was changed forever. I wrote about that once here. I held Savannah pretty much the entire day. I wondered what the world was going to be like for her and all our children.
One of the things I remember about the days following 9-11-01 was the quiet. Planes couldn’t fly, people weren’t going out as much and there was, for me, a noticeable silence. Every now and then the silence would be broken by sirens and it took me a long time before hearing those sirens didn’t cause my heart to race a bit. And as those fire trucks raced to their own emergencies, the American flag was proudly waving as they went by.
September 11, 2008 was the night before a different kind of storm. Ike was it’s name. I wrote about it here. In fact, that time was the very beginning of this blog … I guess this is an anniversary of sorts.
We spent the entire day of 9-11-08 preparing for the hurricane. We bought supplies: water, bread, canned goods. We (Bill) packed up our trampoline (a potential flying missile he called it). We took our new car to a parking garage. We watched people tape and board up windows (we decided if ours broke, they broke). And we prepared, as best we could, for an event we couldn’t begin to imagine.
Bill had wanted to leave town. The mayor had said to “hunker down” though and, not being one to want to defy the mayor, I convinced Bill we should stay. Truth be told, I really wanted to experience a hurricane. I wanted to hear the winds howl and get a t-shirt when it was all over that said I had survived Ike. I really kind of thought he’d want a t-shirt too - after the fact.
They still sell them on ebay.
The storm blew in the night of the 12th. The night of Savannah’s birthday. It had to have been a pretty weird birthday …. knowing Ike was coming as a guest to your “party”.
I was glad we stayed for the storm. I have never heard anything as loud as that hurricane or looked outside my home and to see weak trees leaning over to the ground and giant trees snap like twigs and fall.
It is a night I will never, ever forget.
What I didn’t know was how long it would take to clean up from the storm.
15 days of no electricity. No lights, no air conditioning, no stove or oven, no gas, no grocery stores open … no hair dryer.
And it began to seem like surviving the storm was the easy part. It was the aftermath that was difficult.
Even a year later, when it no longer looks like a hurricane blew through, there are still reminders of the storm.
Reminders that the waters rose, trees fell, and winds howled.
And I think that’s kind of the way it is in life too.
Storms come into our lives and it feels like we are caught up in the driving rains and howling winds. And those storms leave behind some damage. And no matter how much clean up you do, there are some lasting effects from those storms.
Sometimes good. Sometimes bad.
Maybe even both.
One of Bill’s favorite expressions is “the tongue has no eraser”.
And really, neither does life.
But you know, eventually the lights came back on. Power was restored. And we kept going with life, but this time with reminders.
Reminders we can look at and say … we survived.
And this September 11? Well, today I took my 10 year old for an H1N1 swine flu test. She has a high fever and looks and feels awful. Her test came back negative but they also said it may be too soon to tell. So Bill’s boss has encouraged him to work from home and we’re laying low for a few days … hoping it’s just a fever virus and that no one else succumbs.
And no, I do not want an “I surived H1N1” t-shirt.