I cried selfishly on 9/11/2001 as the ripple effects of horrific events threatened your life inside mine. Tears flowed uncontrollably as screaming thoughts in my head had enough exclamation marks to kick-start pre-term contractions. On that day, fear, anger, and pain sucked the joy out of being pregnant.
In the moments that followed, while I obeyed other doctors' orders to rest at home, I often thought about one dear patient I saw in my office clinic on the morning of 9/11. In real time, we learned about the events in NYC as he said to me, "Why can't we all just get along..." Stumped for words, my heart ached as I narrowed in on one thought: "How will I raise my kids in this hateful world?" So I decided to take "bed rest" orders as prescription to guard you from repeated images of violence in the news and I took up knitting. Your pastel colored baby blanket is far from perfect, but it worked. The quiet and purposeful act of using my hands while focusing on you, my sweet baby, slowly helped reclaim the joy of being your mommy.
In the years of mother-daughter bonding since 2001, my hands use more familiar tools to make art. In September 2010, I painted Remember September as a note-to-self and a reply to my patient's bigger question posed nine years earlier: choose love. When we consciously, actively, and generously give love in everyday acts of kindness, I believe we will find many moments of joy to ease some bits of suffering. Although I sometimes still cry selfishly for you and me, I believe our love is stronger than all the hate out there.
I love you always.