They say you never wake a sleeping baby. It’s one of the first things you learn as a new mom. That and how to survive on twenty minutes sleep.
And it’s the quiet moments while they’re sleeping you come to cherish. That morning started out like any other – the quietest breakfast on the planet so as not to wake Leah, five months old, still sleeping upstairs in her little pink room. The TV was on in the background as I sat in bed working on my laptop.
I didn’t notice the break in programming at first. I thought it was a commercial for a movie. Any scene involving a smoking skyscraper had to be a movie. But then they kept showing it – and Peter Jennings’ voice was a constant. And then — it wasn’t a movie — it was another plane, and another, and another.
And I didn’t know if there would be another. Or where.
In that instant all I knew was that I had to go get Leah and bring her downstairs to be with me. I had to wake a sleeping baby. I had to lay hands on her to know she was safe – for now.
I don’t remember much else about that day. I remember a blur of phone calls to make sure everyone we knew was okay. I remember endless images that to this day I can’t forget, but never choose to see again. And every time I remember this day, which is often, I hear a deep, tolling bell in my mind. I never understood why, but I respect it nonetheless.
There are several moments that stick with me as a parent — lessons or realizations or pivotal ticks of a second hand. Ten years ago today I learned what maternal instinct was. And I’ve never forgotten it.
Today I am thankful for blue skies that stay blue, for phones that don’t ring, that all I know and love are present and accounted for. My heart is with those that mourn today – for any reason – we remember. For all those that serve and protect – we are grateful.