Monday, 5 September 2011

A decade ago...

I've been reading a lot of "a decade ago" comments in the past few weeks. Most are aimed at the tragedies that occurred a decade ago next Sunday.

For me though, I'd never been to New York or Washington. I know no one who was personally involved with the events of that day. It was a tragedy but it wasn't the defining point of that year for me. I ran into the father of one of my daughter's classmates yesterday and, while reminiscing about what they were like in grade one, it struck me what my memories of that year were.

2001 was my first year as a single mother; my ex husband and I separated permanently in January. It was my first time taking my children camping. My first time lighting a campfire (I found out later all the wood was wet... clouds of smoke weren't the only blue streaks wafting around that site). It was the year my little boy started school and my little girl went into grade one. We also started attending our local Unitarian-Universalist congregation that September.

Their first day of school pictures show a lot about what both kids were like. Daughter's first day of grade one came first. She picked her favourite pretty outfit and fretted for a month in advance about what school would be like. Would she find the washrooms? Would she know her classmates? When I said she was going to school every day, did I mean weekends too? Was she was going to sleep there overnight? Son bounces along beside her, a bit confused about why he wasn't wearing a backpack too (he didn't understand my explanation that he was going to school that year but on a different day than his sister). Daughter carefully holding his hand to keep him safe.

Son couldn't wait to get to school. He'd prepacked his lunchbox several weeks earlier with about a dozen Fruit to Go bars and half a dozen cheese sticks (I repacked for him) and he couldn't wait to finally get inside the classroom. He'd been trying to get into school for two years, sneaking into the lineup while daughter and her classmates tattled on him. When he was let into the classroom for the first time, he stared at the teacher then looked around the room in amazement with the biggest grin on his face. No one had kicked him out... he could stay!

When you look at the picture, take note of son's feet then look up at his forehead. That beige patch above his eye is a huge bandaid. Not two days earlier he'd tripped over his own feet while running and cracked his head off the sidewalk. I spent the next day teaching him how to hold his hands up when he fell. Apparently he somehow missed that instinct. Note his arms are up in the shot. He was a fast learner when it came to learning how to keep his head from contacting with the ground!

Back then it felt like my whole life was raising two small children. Like it would always revolve around playing in the backyard, bath time with lots of toys, multiple bedtime stories, and listening to piping voices talk about their day. Every day much the same as the day before.

But a decade has gone by and the little changes day by day have added up. Son just started high school this week. His voice is deepening and he stretches taller every day. He's currently about 5ft 9in and in mens size 11 shoes. I'm expecting that to change within weeks. Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank engine have long since faded away. Now he's fascinated by YouTube, especially instructional videos. Yesterday he informed me that our desktop couldn't go online because our firewall was blocking it. Then proceeded to fix it.

Daughter also towers over me at about 5ft 7in. She's now in grade 11 and trying to figure out what she wants to take for post secondary education. She's long out of Barbies and listening to "Mommy's music without words". These days she's got blue hair, multiple piercings and listens to groups like BlackVeil Brides. She also volunteers at the local Humane Society.

And here I sit, feeling not much different than a decade ago, looking at the two of them and marveling how quickly time has flown by. So while everyone else looks back at all the people who died and the heroes who rushed in to save them; I'll be flipping through that year's photo album and remembering the year our lives changed.


  1. **Black Veil Brides, you missed a space :P and I'm 5'6 not 5'7... Just saying :P

  2. LOL so I made you a bit taller. You look 5ft 7in from my height (or lack thereof).

  3. Haha yeahh :P Like my name by the way? :P