It’s September 11th and it is hard for so many not to remember that day. I remember as if it were yesterday.
We were emotional. Like every other aching American. We also had other worries. Whether there would be repercussions because of my husband’s first name. Because his mother, who was visiting us at the time, wore a hijab. We were afraid to take her to the milk store. Maybe he wouldn’t get a new job. And on and on.
Anyway, that’s not why I am writing. I could write pages and pages about that time. I prefer not to go on about it now. But I do want to share one memory.
I remember a telephone conversation with my mother. About two days after the tragedy. When I was staring at empty skies from my backyard patio.
She told me that my beloved grandmother in Rhode Island had taken a turn for the worse. That she might not make it.
I cried. Because I loved my grandmother so much. And also because I was afraid to get on a plane. The thought absolutely terrified me. I confessed this fear to my mother. She replied, “Oh honey, I totally understand. And Nana would understand.”
I cried even harder.
That’s the thing I love about my family. They dole out the guilt in small doses. Like any family. But not when it comes to the big stuff. They pick you up.
My husband saw me crying. I told him why.
He looked at me and immediately said, “I will drive you to Rhode Island.”
It was 1,800 miles away.
There are moments that I really love him. Like my heart is full. And then there are moments that I really love him. Like my heart will burst. That was one of those moments.
Not because he said those words. But because he meant them. Because he knew how much it would mean to me. Not him. Me.
Nana rallied and we did not need to make that trip. But when she died in November I was able to attend the wake and funeral. Because my husband felt that we needed to be with my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas that year. He had made the reservations.
So, I didn’t ever need that ride to Rhode Island. But I won’t ever forget that I had a ride if I needed it.
For our twenty-fifth anniversary he wanted to get me a new ring. A piece of jewelry. I told him no. I wouldn’t appreciate it. I didn’t need another piece of jewelry.
We are coming up on our twenty-seventh anniversary and he’ll be starting again. And I will tell him no.
What I want is what I already have. A heart that sometimes feels like it will burst. Because of those very moments.That is what I appreciate.
And maybe one day he will realize that, as faulty as my memory can be, there are just some things that I will never, ever forget.