Today is the "day after" September 11. It is the day I feel grateful. You see, on September 11, 2001, I was a newlywed of less than 3 months. My 20 year old daughter had moved to New York on September 1st. She called me on the 10th to tell me that she was excited that she had gotten a job in NYC at Mario Bedescu's...a day salon in Manhattan. For some reason I wrote it all down.
My hubby likes to sleep with the TV on, so I oblige since he has so few vices. I awoke at about 4:30 am. Oddly, the power had been off and had just come back on. As I lay there, I flicked through the channels and in minutes, to my horror, saw the second jet hit the world trade center. Within minutes I was confused because they were talking about a jet crashing into the Pentagon....so...which was it???? I couldn't comprehend that it could be BOTH! I tried to call my sweet baby girl but couldn't get through.
In a panic and a need to connect with anyone out there, I found a phone number of a man we had met on our honeymoon on Kauai. He was an executive for Estee Lauder in NYC. He had given me his information and offered to assist my daughter if needed in getting a job. I called them and just talked. Their teenage boys were stranded at their school and they too were worried. But it helped to talk to another mother...albeit a stranger, who was also worried about her kids. She could see smoke from her house.
Although I have never been to NYC and do not know the layout, I did not suspect that my daughter was in the twin towers. Perhaps because I would not allow myself to "go there". But I did suspect that my baby girl was somewhere in the city and she was scared. I so wanted to reach out to her...hold her, stroke her hair...I finally got ahold of her room mate. She told me that Sarah had left her phone at the apartment that day and she could hear it ringing. She knew that Sarah had left for the city and was headed to her first day of work.
My chest was pounding. My eyes felt hot! I feared she would be stuck in a subway and didn't even want to imagine more than that.
Almost 3 hours later, I got an email. It was short. It said something to the effect that she "had made it into work and couldn't talk now, but would contact me later." I crumbled into a pile and started to cry for the first time! I went into the bedroom and woke Menehune Man. "She's alive!" I cried. "Sarah's okay".
I will never truly know the trauma she suffered. She was so young and so far from home. I told her she could come home and it wouldn't mean she had failed in anyway...but she chose to stay. She stayed another 2 years! She said that the New York people had been so supportive that she couldn't leave them. The events that followed shaped her into the person that she is today. And I think she is pretty wonderful.
So on September 11th, I remember those that were lost. But on September 12th, I feel grateful for those who came home. I love you Sarah!