Friday, September 11, 2009

The Day After

OK, I don't know why, but I have a problem with all this 9/11 "Never Forget" stuff. What has remembering gotten us? A war in Afghanistan? A war in Iraq? A lessened position in world politics? A new and growing prejudice against a religion of many because of the actions of a few? Maybe it's the politics of hate that I have a problem with.

I'm sorry, I don't want to remember 9/11. I don't want to remember walking down a deserted street with Parker on his first day of school. I don't want to remember the crowds of people standing around cars listening to the radio to try to get information. Walking by the TV stores with the big screen TVs showing over and over the planes flying into the World Trade Center. I don't want to remember trying to explain to my 4 year old why his school was suddenly shut down and why we had to walk home and why those images were on TV. I don't want to remember the desperation I felt trying to get the mile home to find Mollie and to gather my children up and keep them safe. I don't want to remember that my husband wasn't allowed to come home that night. I don't want to remember being unable to reach anyone by any means for hours. I don't want to remember the guilt my friend who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald had because he survived because he was hungover and couldn't get a cab. I don't want to remember sending my babysitter home to Brooklyn to be with her babies in Anthony's running shoes because she had no idea if she could even get home. I don't want to remember the haunted look in my friend's eyes because he walked out of the Wall Street subway station as people began throwing themselves out of the building. I don't want to remember that his wife couldn't come home to be with him because she worked outside the city. I don't want to remember that my brother's birthday was September 11th and he committed suicide two years later. I don't want to remember the neighbor who got her entire law firm out of the building and then did not return home to the little girl she had so excitedly adopted 3 years before. I don't want to remember that two people I knew who crashed in the field in Pennsylvania. I don't want to remember how my friend felt knowing he sent people on that plane, or his friend who put his mother on that plane. I don't want to remember the fear, hatred and paranoia people suddenly had for men with beards and dark skin.

What exactly do we not want to forget about that day? I know what I don't want to forget.

In the days following, while the city was still pretty much shut down. There was a beautiful peace in New York City. People were certainly sad over the massive loss of life, but we were one. People stopped making fun and criticizing New York City and sent an outpouring of love from all over the world. We truly were the center of the universe that first week. Fire fighters and police officers looked for their brothers in the ruble. People baked cupcakes and cookies and took them to the fire houses and police stations. People stopped and waved and saluted to the fire fighters. And people were kind and compassionate to their neighbors. Even the kids in the playground were different. I didn't see a single fight over a toy and when someone fell down, someone came running over to make sure they were alright. When someone said, "How are you?" They meant it. People were kind and compassionate. People were patriotic in their hearts.

But somewhere along the way it feels to me that September 11th became about hate and not compassion. It became about getting Osama Bin Laden. It became about you aren't patriotic if you don't fly an American flag, or wear one in your lapel. It became about "where were you?" So forgive me but if I try to forget September 11th. I will try to never forget September 12 & 13th. I want to remember the calm after the storm. I want to remember the emails people sent me saying thank God you are OK. I want to remember the caring that every New Yorker had for each other and the nearly every other person in the world had for New Yorkers. I want to remember the fire fighters putting the American Flag up in the ruble.

I will never forget kindness and compassion. I will never forget funeral procession after funeral procession. I will never forget the love and respect we suddenly remembered for the brave men and women who fight fires, save lives and keep us safe. I will never forget the love and respect we found for our neighbors--be they strangers or friends. I will never forget a child picking up a toy for another child and handing it to him. I will never forget gathering with my friends in the playground and making sure everyone made it home. I will never forget finding out who didn't.

I guess that my wish is to never forget that September 11th is not about hating the people who took down those planes. I don't need to remember those horrible images. My wish is that September 11th is the day we are patriotic in our hearts and turn to our neighbors with love and compassion--be they next door, down the street or half way around the world. That we remember that caring was the first emotion people felt in the days following and that caring and compassion is what we should take away from this day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lice and relaxation

I went away for Labor Day weekend with some girlfriends. This is our third glorious outing. We were missing (in both senses of the word) a couple of our group this year. Other then that it was a beautiful weekend. Lots of wine, good food and laughs. Thinking about "ping pong" "number 32" (or is it "42"?) can still bring a smile to my face. We also spent a great deal of time talking about lice. One person's child had them before she left, but he was cured and she was given the blessing to go. However, various cures and techniques (lice not sex that was number 32) were discussed at length. I personally felt that I knew what I was talking about because I'd read some things and heard some things.

Of course, I came home to a list of chores including washing the football uniform "I was gonna try and do it myself", doing all the rest of the laundry, loading the dishwasher, running the dishwasher, unloading the dishwasher. It was all worth it though. And I am very thankful to my family for letting me go on what turns out to be a VERY busy weekend.

Tuesday I woke up ready to hit the ground running. I hit Target by 8 a.m., then to Newtown Farm Market and finally Kroger for the rest of the groceries. When I started unloading my cart at the Farm Market, my phone rang. I picked it up and heard the saddest, most desperate thing my husband has said in a long time, "Mollie has lice we need you home right now, she's in hysterics." I said, "OK I'm in the checkout line but I'll run to the grocery store to get the stuff and be right home." More discussion about not being able to make the medicine appear or being able to be home and at the store at the same time. I hung up and said pretty much every curse word I know. I looked up at the checkout girl and said, "Oh sorry." To which she replied, "I'm pretty sure I know what you are talking about." A discussion of lice ensued. By the way, it turns out I didn't know SHIT about lice!

So off I run to the grocery store, run to the pharmacy, "where's the lice medicine?!?!" Run down the shampoo isle (shampoo isle? shouldn't that be in the pharmacy?), grab the Lice MD (what the farmer's market girl had recommended), grab three more, run to the self check out. Jog to the car, receive yet another phone call, have another discussion about just how fast I'm able to do things, drive home. Stop and email my girlfriends, "911, Mollie has LICE!!!!"

Mollie actually looked quite calm upon my arrival. I'm pretty sure she was not the one who was hysterical (I've since gotten confirmation on that). So up to the bathroom we go. I hear my cleaning lady come in HALLELUJAH! I cast aside all the jobs we had planned for the day--dusting and reorganizing the bookshelves HA that could wait. There was stripping of beds, vacuuming, washing in hot water, putting every pillow in the dryer for 40 minutes, vacuuming of the beds (I flipped the mattresses just to be on the safe side), changing all the sheets. Finding every item of clothing from the long weekend, back packs, purses and coats--oh my! So I got my angel of mercy started and went into the stripped down bathroom to start the treatment. I should probably admit here that I was on the verge of hysteria. Much of that initial 1/2 hour is a fuzzy blur.

Fortunately one of the girls called the one whose child had had lice before we left and sent her to my aid. She was so sweet and calming that I can never thank her enough! She sat with me and combed through Mollie's hair for TWO hours. I got Mollie settled onto the LEATHER sofa (they apparently can't live on leather). And started on the checklist. Since I hadn't gotten to the grocery store before, we put her treated and dried hair up in a bun and went to the grocery store. There we saw a friend and told her to stay away because we were lepers, to which she replied "we were lepers all weekend." She told me about the cetaphil cure. Said it was much better and less messy than the olive oil cure (which I'd discovered that morning). So deciding I would do everything in my power to kill these nits or bugs or whatever they are, I picked up both olive oil and cetaphil. And a flea comb for good measure. Long story short, olive oil is indeed too messy because it drips in your eyes. It does make your hair soft and shiny though.

I treated the rest of the family with the Lice MD. Another angel and very experienced school nurse came to my rescue that evening to check my work (by this time I'd spent 4 hours combing through Mollie's hair). We still had a few hot spots of nits and I'd used the wrong stuff. Lice MD it turns out is simply a silicone gel that smothers the lice--so no medicine. Nurse Angel told me to go immediately the next a.m. and get some Nix. Which of course I did. And I combed her out for two more 2 hour sessions. In the meantime vacuuming, washing and clearing as I went. (I told the school secretary that I had removed all the rugs and towels are now washed after one use. Mollie commented, "our bathroom floor is really slippery." To which I replied, "better to break your neck then spread lice.") and dutifully treated the rest of the family with the poison.

Oh and in my research one of the symptoms of lice is "irritability". Of the patient or the treater?

So anyway, Mollie is now "nit free" and all we have to do is check each other for two more weeks. Thought I would be relieved, but I'm not really sure.

Doesn't really matter though because I've got to go vacuum, change sheets and wash. At least I can think about my weekend and smile.