Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Ten years ago today, my life changed. Less than two hours after watching a second line appear on a pregnancy test, I witnessed the horrors of 9/11 unfold from the coffee shop at work. I had just told a friend (another high mileage runner) about the faint line; told her we planned to test again the next day “just to be sure.” But I knew. A second line was a second line, no matter how faint.

For the thirty minutes we talked, my main concerns about being pregnant were how far and how fast I could run with a baby on board. Would I be able to run throughout my pregnancy or would I have to settle with walking in the later months?

As I got up from the table with my friend and saw the crowds of people behind us watching the television coverage of the attacks, I remember thinking that running during my pregnancy wasn’t important. I felt silly at having worried; now there were more serious considerations. Like, how could I bring a child into a world where such terrible things were happening?

From the moment I stood up (close to 8 am CST), I was terrified. I remember crying that night as I realized the enormity of the attack. Watching the aftermath on television with my husband, knowing we had a baby on the way, made the event seem even more grievous. It was an attack on everyone, even our unborn child.

We went ahead and took another pregnancy test the following day. We’d deluded ourselves into the “uncertainty” of the test from the day before. Wanted a new, happier day to know for sure. As expected, the faint line had turned into a confident, bold declaration.

As our baby grew I continued to worry about the world, but I also continued to run. After time, I realized that the running really was important. It was something I could control, something that made me feel like I was making a difference in my world. It was a statement, a proclamation of how important health and fitness were to me. It was my way of telling myself, my child, and my community that I wasn’t going to live in fear.

But admittedly, a small amount of fear remains with me today. I hate the thought of anything threatening the safety of my family. So I’ll do what I can each day to keep them safe in the ways I can control. I’ll do what I can to stay healthy and teach them to do the same.

We’ll never forget the tragedies of 9/11. We’ll never forget that first pregnancy test; the day we first learned we were going to become parents. The events will forever be connected, and forever remind us how fragile life really is.


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