Phoebe was born six years after the towers came down. She won't be one of those New York kids who is defined by this tragedy. I'm sure she will learn about it, eventually, but what will I tell her about that day? At the time, it was so gigantic, so overwhelming to think people would plot to do us harm. Before 2001, we lived in a bubble of American inertia. We knew full well that the world is full of terror and the people who peddle it, but never quite believed it would strike us so forcefully. The fact that the Towers had been hit in 1993 and that our embassies and ships had been targeted did not wake us from our slumber. 9/11 did. And now, seven years later, the day that was supposed to change everything is starting to fade in our public consciousness. Despite the fact that the collective grief and anger we felt that day launched two wars, two terms for George W. Bush and the subsequent demise of our economy and our standing in the world, our outrage seems to simmer only on the far left. We are on the verge of electing a new President, and yet the policies of the government that brought us our current disaster state seems to be paying little price. Both candidates have co-opted the mantle of change- because they know that is what people want- yet change may come in a package that looks like more of the same. Yet on today, of all days, if people cannot see how we were manipulated, lied to, and brought into a deep state of debt, they will never see until the empire has gone the way of the Aztecs and Romans and Egyptians who once ruled the world and lost it all to hubris and arrogance.
This is my first 9/11 as a mother. And since Phoebe came into my world, I want nothing more than to protect her from all harm. She is someone who came from a country who outlasted us (and many others) in wars on their soil. She is a survivor, as are we all. I brought her here because I think New York City is the greatest city on earth to live in. It is a place where all outsiders are welcome, where every color of the rainbow is reflected on the faces you see every day. New York represents the ultimate freedom to be and say and do what you please. In truth, it is the ultimate American City for those ideals, and yet, it is not an accurate representation of America. Most towns are not as diverse. In the big open places of America they love freedom too, but often value sameness. They might think their values are different than ours, but we are the true Libertarians; be what and who you want to be. Accept those around you. Do good and do well. In theory, I'm sure most people would agree. And yet in a season of Political change, fear seems to to rule over ideas. My optimistic heart holds out hope for real change this time around. To live to see a Barak Obama at the top of a ticket and even Sarah Palin as the no. 2 on hers, shows how far we've come. Sadly, politics divides the country every time. People back into their corners and hunker down for the fight. At least on 9/11 we can try to remember that we're all on the same side.
Someday, I will tell Phoebe about that day. I will tell her how the whole world watched and how everyone came together. I will tell her how our apartment was filled with friends who had to leave their homes and how kindly her Grandparents were treated in France when they could not return home from Paris. I will tell her how I cried in Union Square looking at the posters of those who were missing and how I sang Amazing Grace on the boardwalk with complete strangers who mourned like one family. Many bad things did spring from that day, but the good in people could be seen everywhere. I'll tell her that.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
The day Samantha Claire was born was a very long day. It started early on Tuesday, August 19th, 2008. But as Grandpa Jerry predicted, his new grand daughter would be born on his father's birthday- August 20th- nearly a century later. She arrived at 2:27am by C-section. I was lucky enough to be there with Carol from start to finish. They let me suit up and sit next to her in the operating room, holding her hand and trying not to pay too much attention to the group of doctors working away on the other side of the curtain. When Sammie came out, she cried with life and we knew it would all be okay. I was the first to hold her after they checked her out and cleaned her up. I held this light little bundle, so small and perfect close to Carol's face so she could see the amazing being she just made.
It was after 4am when they were in the recovery room, ready to sleep off all Mama and baby had just endured. I didn't want to leave Carol there, but when I looked at her holding her baby, I knew she would be just fine. Carol looked so calm (and tired) but completely ready to start her life with her daughter. I went home to my own little girl, the first night I had spent without her. Luckily, Jeff was there to welcome me home and ask how it had all gone. Just perfect, I would say. Another wonderful little girl had entered our lives.
Now Mom and baby are back home in the West Village, getting in their groove and doing just great. Can't wait for our girls to meet and to start their new lives as sisters in our very special extended happy family.
Monday, September 1, 2008
August 17th, 2008– an absolutely beautiful day in New York City. My Mom and I had planned a picnic in Phoebe's honor, to be held in our local green haven- Carl Schurz Park. All week leading up to the party, we were not only hoping for sunny skies, we were also hoping that Carol, Phoebe's Godmother and TiTi would either give birth in time for me to attend my child's first birthday, or hold out until after the celebration. I had already assured Carol that this time, her child's birth would trump my child's birthday. Phoebe could have her party anytime. Her little friend, yet to be born, needed me a little more that day. I was Carol's birth partner, and was determined to be there for whatever she needed. We have been on our journey to motherhood together over these last few years. As single women, choosing this path, we have become each other's life partners- true sisters in this life we've been given.
As luck would have it, Samantha Claire would wait another 3 days to be born and we were able to have a fantastic first birthday filled with friends and food and a cloudless sky. We were also joined but some unexpected, but welcome guests. The film maker, Beth Cramer, who I had met three years earlier, was continuing her documentary on single women choosing motherhood (Plan B). She had profiled me in her first effort when I was just starting out in my quest to become a mother. Soon after we met, I became pregnant (on my very first try) and was ecstatic at my good fortune. Sadly for me, that pregnancy would not last. I became the sad story of her film, the cautionary tale of the perils of fertility after 35. When Beth called me to say she was continuing her documentary with some of the women she had met earlier, I was thrilled. Now, I had the chance to document the happy beginning of my life with Phoebe and Jeff and the rest of the people in my life. She also had a chance to talk to Carol and to Jessica. How wonderful that so many women in our lives have taken this path. It is truly a mark of our time.
So wile the cameras rolled, Phoebe was celebrated, blew out her candles, and toddled around the grass socializing with all her guests. Lots of our cousins were in attendance from Kathy, Jess & Matt to Felicia & Rob and the Rosenfields too. Of course our family is filled with 'fake' cousins too who we love and cherish- Alana, Jimmy, Beth and their kids Emily & Jonathan just back from camp in Maine (Go Green Team!), Jessica and Sam, and of course, Carol and her belly, just three days away from a whole new life. As well as Birches and Yates (our new family) and friends who give the sweetness to our lives.
It was a perfect way to start Phoebe's next year. How very lucky we both are.