Children come into this world with many types of innocence. It’s a beautiful thing to see, and heartbreaking to watch as those ideas/views of their worlds are sometimes shattered as they grow up. When I was a child, I thought my parents were invincible, that they would always be there for me. I had no idea of death and severe illness. That innocence was lost for me when I was fourteen and my father had his first of many heart attacks. I remember waking at 2am to voices downstairs, and creeping out of my bedroom to see my Daddy on a gurney and the EMT’s talking to him, getting ready to take him to the hospital. My mom never knew until years later that I had seen what was going on, nor how terrifying it was for me. My Daddy was my rock, and I couldn’t get the picture out of my head of him laying there helpless and in pain. He spent five days in the hospital, and after that, life changed. I began to watch both my parents closely, looking for any signs of any problems, any indication that they might be taken from my life. I know now that they will not live forever. I have been blessed to have them both in my life long enough to learn from them, for them to see me marry and give them grandchildren, and to develop more than just a parent/child relationship.
As a child, I thought life was just a simple progression – you grew up, went to school, got married, had babies and grew old together with your spouse. My parents divorced when I was 18. At 26, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and was told that conceiving a child could be an issue. I got married to the most wonderful man, and we spent 18 months trying to get pregnant, undergoing tests and treatments for infertility. We got pregnant, only to miscarry at 6 1/2 weeks. We got pregnant again six months later, but then gave birth at 26 weeks to the most beautiful little boy. I lost my innocence of how life, marriage, pregnancy and birth could be. I know now that it is not always a simple progresssion, that there are speed bumps and road blocks along the way, that sometimes babies become angels, and sometimes babies survive but struggle for years if not lifetimes. Six years ago today, I lay in a hospital bed, fighting to stay pregnant. Six years ago today, I was told I was going to be in that hospital til I either got to 32 weeks (eight weeks away), or delivered my baby, and I cried. I cried for me, and I cried for my tiny baby.
As a child, I thought our country was indestructible. We won the gold medal in hockey on 1980 against our foe. We had been on the “right side” in two world wars. We were a powerhouse in the world. I lost that innocence on September 11, 2001. I still fight the tears even today, thinking about that morning. I remember writing in Grace’s baby journal (I was still a month away from delivering her) that her world had changed that day and she would never know it. I have never known such silence could exist – no airplanes flying overhead, no cars on the highways as people stayed home to watch television and be with loved ones, no sports being played, bridges and tall buildings empty with the fear of another attack. I know now that we are not invincible. I know that many people lost and gave their lives that day. I know that many children will never know or remember one or the other of their parents. Five years later, it is still heartbreaking. I have cried watching scenes from that day. I have cried hearing people speak of that day. It is a day that will never be forgotten. It is a day that shapes our world. How I sometimes wish to be that child again, with that innocence. I know that someday, my own children will lose some of their innocent views of their worlds. I pray to hang onto that innocence for them for as long as possible. Let them believe their parents are always going to be there, let them think that life is a simple progression, let them believe their world, their country is strong and indestructible, let them be innocent children.