with gratitude

Fourteen years ago, I awoke to a bright blue sky and the hint of crisp fall temperatures. And contractions. Ten-to-twelve minutes apart.

“What do you want to do?” my husband asked when he saw me with the stopwatch.

“D’uh, go to work. If I sit around all day timing contractions, this baby will never be born.” (After all, this was years before the Red Sox would win their first World Series of my lifetime, which I know only makes sense to New Englanders.)

We got into the car for the commute to Capitol Hill. Our drive took us by the Pentagon. Not that I noticed. I usually took a pregnancy-induced early morning power nap as we sat in bumper-to-bumper. On September 11th, I woke up from my car slumber, per usual, just as we exited the Third Street Tunnel. I got door-to-door service, dropped off directly in front of the Senate office building where I worked.

By the time I reached my desk, an infamous day was in the making.

I don’t know why my unborn baby, his father and I were chosen to live on 9-11 when so many others perished. But I do know I’m grateful. Grateful to those who prevented the fourth plane from flying into the Capitol. Grateful for the heroes who emerged in our nation’s time of need. Grateful my son waited four days to enter this unpredictable world.

This morning, the sky is bright and the air cool. The world is crazy but heroes still exist. And that baby is on the cusp of his fourteenth birthday.

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