How I’m remembering September 11 with my toddler

Most of us can recall with great detail where we were twelve years ago today. On September 11, 2001 the unimaginable happened – America was attacked. Everyday normal people were killed and just like that the world got a lot scarier. Something I’d never feared before became reality and the fear alone was enough to empower those who planned the attack. Almost but not enough. We’re still strong and we’ll never forget.

patriotic cookiesNow as a mom, I face a new sadness each 9/11. On top of remembering the tragic events of that day I’m faced with the dilemma on how to handle this topic in front of my three year old. Of course she’s too young to watch the footage of the tower or to really be told what happened. Instead we celebrate America by singing songs, reading patriotic quotes and decorating cookies in red, white and blue frosting. Rather than talk about what happened we celebrate America’s strength and those who fight each day for our freedom. I’m sure to hug my daughter a little tighter thinking of the children that hugged their parents for the last time that fateful morning.

We’ll approach each September 11 differently depending on her age and maturity. Someday I’ll have to have the difficult conversation about what happened but until then I do prefer to keep her innocent and free of such fears for a little longer.

Before 9/11 I had never been afraid of an attack on American soil. I was a senior in high school when I learned how evil can truly strike anywhere. My daughter will not grow up with such innocence. She’ll study and know about the events of September 11, 2001 long before high school. We won’t shield her from our nation’s darkest hour or the news of terror plots reported on the evening news. She’ll grow up in a scarier world than I did and that fact is sometimes more troubling to me than looking back on that day.

Our nation was changed but it’s the loss of childhood innocence that is the real crime. How do you handle the topic of September 11 with your children?

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