In general, I’m pretty stoic. I was told that when I was around ten or eleven. It took me another 10 years until I finally looked it up. But ya, stoic. I guess you could attempt to discipline 3 year old Juli and she gave no fucks. So, blame her for today’s attitude.
Anyway. I don’t cry much. Women who use tears for manipulation don’t last long around me. Men? Forget it. Reasons men can cry: their dog died; their child died; their wife died; their parent died. In that order. I don’t want a man who’s fucking sensitive. My god, the pussification of men in America is epic (and not in a good way.) Using tears to get your way or detour a fight is so cowardly that I. Can’t. Even.
But I’m not a robot. I cry. Usually on my own but it happens. It happens every December 7. That is the day my biological mother was born and I have pictures of her. So beautiful and young. And on December 31st (or it may legally be January 1st, 1971) she died. I was four and had already been adopted by the Peterson’s who whisked me away to the Great White North of Carlton, Minnesota where I assumed snow was their method of wanting to kill me. Now I love it. Shrug.
But on December 7 each year I grieve for the mother I never knew. Who didn’t get a chance to “make it.” Who never got to see that her kids “made it.” Whom I never got a chance to tell, “it’s okay. You did the best you could. I’m okay. I did good.” That makes me sad. So I cry. Wine is usually involved. Sue me.
My husband has seen me cry less than five times. I actually remember only two but I’ll assume there were a couple more and round it off to five. So in conclusion, I don’t cry much.
But every year for the last 15, I want to just sit and cry around this time of year. Cuz:
I watched a movie today on Netflix called World Trade Center with Nicholas Cage. It made me cry. In general, Nicholas Cage doesn’t make me cry. In fact, I don’t watch movies with Nicholas Cage. Barf. But, I’ll watch this one. And it made me cry.
And in the next few days, I’ll watch more. I’ll watch documentaries; I’ll watch movies; I’ll watch reinactments. Because honestly, I just want to sit and cry.
It’s been 15 years, and still, I want to cry.
I remember that day. Crystal clear. It was a gorgeous, fall day. We had just had a garage sale the weekend before. The kids were off to school and the Ozman and I were hanging out. I watched the “Today” show back then. Mostly to see what moronic, inane shit they would say (still do occasionally) when suddenly the first Trade Tower explosion came on live tv. And then the 2nd. I sat there watching saying, “what the fuck.” Seriously. What the fuck was going on???
I packed up Oz into his car seat and ran out to my folks to return some tables I’d borrowed for the garage sale and my dad was “scrambling” to get to a meeting. (Pastor John scrambles, at least, he did. He never went anywhere without saying, “I’m in a scramble, gotta go” to ensure that you knew how busy he was. It drove me nuts.) Just as I was pulling into their driveway, WCCO reported that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC. For me, that was the moment where I realized that something very serious was happening in America. We were under attack. This is so fucking bad.
So when I walked into Mom and Dad’s house and asked my dad if he’s been paying attention to the news today, and he said, “I guess, leave the tables in the garage and get going. I’m in a scramble and need to get to Dassel” I kind of shut down. That was it. Our country was under attack and instead of sitting down and giving comfort, you need to get to a meeting. Bye Felicia.
So I went home. Hugged my son. Watched for updates and cried. Bad day America. Bad day. I went for coffee with a friend and we cried. Then I went and had lunch with the Z’s at school. It was pizza day. Their friends were bemoaning how awful the pizza was. Seriously, it hit me that when these kids hate the horrible school lunches they actually go around 8 hours without eating anything. Zandra’s little friend Kelby gave me, in detail, the bullet points of how school pizza sucks. It was a nice distraction.
But it occurred to me, during that pizza lunch, that these kids won’t remember this bad day. Some day, when they get older, they won’t remember. They won’t know how bad this day was. They won’t remember the shrieks on the television when that second plane hit.
They won’t understand how absolutely heroic a group of people were on a plane flying over Pennsylvania ensured that only their lives were lost by fighting terrorists 10,000 feet up in the air. See, our kids think Bruce Jenner is heroic. Who’s fucked up in that scenario?
We remember how suddenly Americans were one. I remember how neighbors were nicer to each other (I don’t know if our fucknutt neighbor, Francis, was nicer to his neighbors at the time. I assume not but who knows.) I remember the one question on everyone’s mind,
WHAT CAN I DO?
I remember hearing that the rescue dogs at ground zero were depressed. Dogs. Depressed. That their job was to rescue, and they weren’t finding anyone to rescue. So they became depressed. Mother.
I remember a work trip on the weekend of an anniversary of 9/11 in Brooklyn, NY where we came out of a shop and I popped across the street where candles still burned alongside of the brick building of a fire station where 4 firefighters lost their lives. I remember that completely helpless feeling of how our lives would change and yet, would remain the same because at the end of the day, I didn’t know anyone who died. I wasn’t involved.
I remember. I realized, talking once with a former client who was in her early 30’s and mentioned last year that she didn’t really get the big deal of 9-11, that to people younger than 40’s something may not remember how bad this was.
See, we’ve been brainwashed to believe that fellow American’s are the enemy. That it’s us against us and that some lives (pick a color) matter more than others. We’ve forgotten that bad day where (it seemed) American’s stood against the world and said,
NOT ON OUR FUCKING WATCH! THIS IS AMERICA AND WE HAVE EACH OTHER’S BACKS. FUCK OFF. WE WILL END YOU IF YOU EVEN TRY.
I remember how we stood together. How it was a positive being patriotic. Today, I heard part of a speech from our President where he said, “Americans are lazy, they think the world is small and don’t care what happens around them.” Well Mr. President, you don’t know me. You don’t speak for me. You have no idea how I feel about Laos or any neighboring countries. But I’ll tell you this,
I love my country. I’m proud of it. It’s survived far worse than you and it will continue to survive. And guess what, there are others like me. They come in all shapes; all sizes; all nationalities; all religions; all political spectrums, from all over. I’m aware of problems around the globe and do care. But first and foremost, America matters.
So when America hurts…
…we all hurt. And we become better for it. Just watch us.
We’re young men. We’re not ready to die.
Kevin Cosgrove, who was on the 105th floor of the south tower moments before it collapsed.