True courage is like a kite; a contrary wind rises it higher.
The purpose of Time Travel Tuesday is to intentionally do something that reminds me of younger days or something that makes me feel young. I intended to write about my rediscovery of kites. We purchased a red, white and blue flag kite one Independence Day when we were celebrating July 4th in Washington D.C. a few years ago. The kite sat in the garage unused until last week. I took it to the park and couldn’t believe how much joy it brought. Not just to me. Kids left the swings and slides and duck ponds to line up for a turn to hold on to the rising flag.
But writing about flying a kite on this Tuesday does not transport me back in time. I can’t write about the carefree feeling of liberation that envelopes you as you hang on to something that is actually flying. I can’t write about the sense that you yourself are capable of soaring when you are connected to something that can soar so high. As I write this, I am watching the news coverage from the Pentagon and Ground Zero. A memorial to another Tuesday. A Tuesday with clear blue skies and sunshine and gentle breezes. A Tuesday not unlike today.
I write today remembering a day when I was a 31-year old single mother living in a new city with no friends or family. I dropped my son off at daycare and walked into my new job at a TV station. I watched on one of ten TV screens in our newsroom live as the second plane crashed. Within moments, we all scrambled instinctively knowing where to go. I headed to MacDill Air Force Base. President Bush was visiting an elementary school in nearby Venice. We all worked to get local reaction and report on the movement of the President. None of my stories ever made air. All coverage was consumed with what was happening in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C..
Like every single person in America that day, my mind wandered will it happen here? Is my son safe at a daycare so close to a military base that houses Central Command? Is is safe to be so close to the location where the President is visiting? Will I lose my job if I leave to be with him? Where can I take him that is safe? When will this end? I relied on the kindness of strangers that day to care for my 22-month old son. I ended up working a fifteen hour day and was numb by the time I finally could hold him in my arms. Perhaps numb by the overwhelming realization that we are all so vulnerable no matter how old we are or where we live.
Sometimes transporting yourself back in time makes you feel younger, not better. 11-years later, I am married with an established circle of friends and family. I am no longer so dependent on a job that I wouldn’t dare leave even if I thought the world may be coming to an end. But if I really think about that Tuesday, I still don’t feel any less vulnerable. I don’t feel any less alone, exposed or small.
Maybe that is just what happens when you are connected to something horrifying, something so full of despair. Today I will not bore you with sweet stories of flying or rising above or soaring to great heights. But I am going to the park with my flag kite today. Right now, in fact. I am going to the let the string out as far as it will go.
Where were you on this particular Tuesday?