I will never forget the moment I witnessed the horrors of September 11. The images are so vivid in my mind that it is difficult to grasp that the events took place 11 years ago. So much has changed, but the raw pain of that day remains fresh.
I am thankful that Robby will never experience the turmoil of those days, but the events have certainly shaped his world. We are honored to have been able to spend time with wounded military, offering support but more importantly providing an escape from their routines. Robby is so at ease around our wounded warriors, yet I don't think he fully comprehends the reasons behind their injuries. In reality, I don't think I want him to understand.
We have always felt that it was important to convey the significance of September 11. As Robby has been growing up, Scott and I have both struggled to find a way to explain the events to him without causing undo fear. We don't want him to be afraid, but we do want him to be aware.
Out of a desire to honor the victims, Robby and I have been baking and delivering cookies to our local fire house every year on September 11th. While we are baking, I talk with him about the buildings that fell. We talk about the victims who couldn't get out of the buildings, the passengers who died on the planes and the heroes who tried to help. I let him lead the conversation, asking questions but not offering unsolicited information.
Last night, per our family tradition, Robby and I worked in the kitchen preparing a large batch of chocolate chip cookies. As soon as the cookies were cool we made a small plate of treats for Mr. Bill. We headed over to visit and to surprise him with our gooey chocolate chip cookies.
After thanking us profusely and woofing down a cookie in a single gulp, Mr. Bill asked Robby why he baked the treats. I think he expected Robby to say he was taking them to school or to surprise his Daddy. Instead, Mr. Bill was stunned by Robby's detailed explanation.
"Mr. Bill, we baked a huge tray cookies for the firemen. They are going to be sad tomorrow. You see Mr. Bill, a long long time ago, before I was born, planes were flown into buildings. People died inside, and it made everybody super scared and sad. The firemen were super duper sad because a lot of their friends tried to go in to rescue people and they died. The buildings fell when they were on the stairs. Momom and me made cookies to make the firemen happy when they are feeling sad and thinking about their friends. Tomorrow it is really important to do something to make people happy."
Hearing Robby explain the reason behind our cookie tradition made me proud. His words let me know that he understood that we were not just baking cookies, but that we were honoring the friends who were lost. My little guy summed it up perfectly when he insisted that it was "important to do something to make people happy."
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