And yet, hanging over it all was the day. My youngest was born exactly 5 years after the 9/11 attacks. The overwhelming sadness that accompanies remembering that day was always present, looming over everything we did and said. I can't avoid it, I don't want to avoid it. I feel strongly my responsibility to NOT forget.
Until now I've been able to compartmentalize the day. Give Matthew some festivity and take time for solemn reflection. But this year, now that he knows what a birthday means, it was much more difficult. How do you celebrate while mourning or mourn while celebrating?
I think it must be similar (and probably even easier) than those who lose a loved one on a holiday.
It didn't help that he choose a firetruck birthday cake. If I had realized the irony before this morning, I might have encouraged a different choice. As it was, as I passed the cake sitting on the counter all day, I was reminded of my torn emotions. My heart swelled at the gift of my son and his sweet innocence. Yet, my heart sank as I thought of those that lost their life and a national loss of innocence. How is it a heart can do both? How do you survive a day when you're torn into two? (And, do you think it will affect him, that his mother grieves on his birthday?)
Today was a very strange day for me.