Today is a big day.
It’s September 11, 2012. 9/11. Eleven years after those airplanes flew into the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon, and a random Pennsylvania field.
But I wonder what I’ll tell Jack when he starts asking questions about 9/11.
I hope to keep it from him for a bit, if I can.
He’s at the age where reality and fantasy merge, the line between the two fuzzy and blurred. I’m not sure he’d grasp that 9/11 really happened – to actual people – to our country. I’m afraid he’d think it was imaginary, cool even…after all, even the G-rated cartoons he watches are often violent. And there is something in a boy’s DNA (mine, at least) that just wants to play war and knock things down.
I don’t want him thinking it’s pretend, but I don’t want him knowing it’s real, either.
Today he asked me if babies die, and if this makes their moms sad. I do the best I can to answer him truthfully but not scare him, saying vague things like, “not usually…most people are old when they die.” But I can see the wheels turning, and his questions never stop. He wants details. He wants me to show him pictures of heaven on my iPhone.
I’m not ready to tell him that people kill each other for no good reason. I don’t want to tell him that there are “bad guys” in real life, that innocent people…sitting at their desks, chatting over the dividers between their cubicles, flying in an airplane to go visit family…are all dead today as a result of hatred and distrust.
That’s not the world I want my kids growing up in.
They have the rest of their lives to learn about the sadness, and violence, and grief on this planet.
And so tomorrow, I’ll think of the victims of 9/11. I’ll think of their families and their children, children who don’t have the luxury of my own…children who were too young to know about 9/11 themselves but had no choice because they lost a parent.
I’ll be thinking about all of them.
But I won’t be telling my kids about it. Not yet.
What about you? Have you talked about 9/11 with your kids?