Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Moment in Time

"Do you want that chalkboard out in the garage for your non-profit?" My dad asked as I was leaving after Friday night's family dinner. I don't know where they first got it from (probably a garage sale) but it was taking up room in the garage and he was ready to get rid of it. I told my dad sure, the kids at the center can use it, and we agreed he would bring it over the next morning.

Good as his word, he lugged it up the stairs for me the following day and I set it up in the kid's play room. It still had a message from my son that he had written at least ten years ago. It said "Mom, You're Late!" in huge letters, punctuated with un-happy faces. It was a message he had left me on a night when I had to work later than usual at the restaurant, to let me know he was not happy about it.

We had a program in the office yesterday, so by now the kids might have erased the board already to do their own doodles. I didn't look to see before I left, I kind of want to imagine the message from my little one is still there.

Of course, I see my son every day. He is eighteen now and still living at home. But the more grown-up he gets, the more nostalgic I become for the days when he was little. I miss how I could make him crack up just by saying the word "butt" and watching him spend hours building things out of Legos. I miss him snuggling up next to me on the sofa to watch a Disney movie, and I miss his sweet little-boy voice saying "Mommy, c'mere, watch me skateboard!" Now, if anything, it's "Mom! Don't look!"

Today, I can't help but think about all the moms and dads who never came home and never got to see their little ones grow up. And I think about all the parents who lost their adult children that day. Just as my little boy's decade old message on a chalk board reached out across time to speak to me, so, too, does the grief and horror following the events of ten years ago today.

As I sit here writing this, I hear the sound of Rolling Thunder going by out on the street, in a tribute to all who perished on 9/11. If you don't know Rolling Thunder, this is their website I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Muller, who founded the group, when I worked at the print shop. He lived nearby and came in to get his business cards and letterheads done with us.

All of us carry the past with us, both good and bad. Life always does go on, whether or not we go on with it. We can't turn back time, as much as we might wish to once in awhile. Little boys grow up, tragedies become entries in the history books, but still we remember. We remember, and we move on, embracing today, looking forward to what tomorrow brings.

Embrace the moment, my friends.

My son's message on the chalkboard

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