My father was killed when I was 14 years old. It remains one of the single most horrible things to happen to me. After the funeral began I told my mother how scared I was. She was calm and said, "It will be alright." I always hated it when people told me "it'll be alright." I asked, "how?" What if something happened to her? I would be left alone. She promised she'd be here to take care of me. Angry, I demanded how she could make those kinds of promises. Did she think she was indestructible? Invincible? I cried, "How can you promise that you won't die?" She stopped and we looked into each other's eyes. I don't know if I sensed she couldn't answer, or if I just wanted to believe her, so I let her slide.
When my son first learned how to walk he fell a lot. Those first few steps of his were stressful for all of us. Seeing him waddle along, tripping and falling, made me think I should have him dressed in football gear until he had mastered his new skill. When I see my son, now three years old, hanging from monkey bars and yelling, "Watch dis Mommy!" I gulp and say, "great Luc!" while my fingers are crossed behind my back. Being a Mom is a tough job. My instincts have instructed me from the moment the stick turned pink that I need to protect this little boy with all my might.
I shouldn't have let my son see the television but I had to know what was happening on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. My son, 3 years old, pointed at the TV and said, "That's New York City." I quietly said, "Yes, it is." Then he asked, "What's that?" and pointed at the smoke billowing up in the air from where the twin towers proudly used to stand.
Luc's only 3 years old but he can see the anguish in every one's face. He can see that his mother is obviously distraught wondering if her friends got out. His entire world is now filled with adults that don't greet each other with smiles and the usual, "hey, what's up?" We all look at each other with serious faces and whisper, "did you hear anything yet?"
Terrorists are out of my range of control. There's nothing I can do about evil. I know as well as anyone that I can't promise my son that I will always be here to protect him but I can't let him see my fear. The only thing I can do for Luc is to love him and make him feel secure.
Luc had a hard time getting to sleep last night. He asked me to stay in his room with him. I sat on the edge of his bed, stroked his head and whispered, "I love you. Mommy is always here. It will be alright."
© copyright 2001, Claudine M. Jalajas