Monday, September 12

Lesson #137 - There Is A Time To Be Serious (Guest Post)

I have "known" Dumb Mom ever since I began my blog. She is hysterical, snarky and a mom of 3 boys. As a parent of small children - all under 10 - and a resident of one of the 2 areas which were attacked 10 years ago, sometimes you have to put the jokes aside and provide serious explanations...even when you aren't sure what to say.

I’m a funny lady.

Sometimes I’m the only one who actually thinks so, but that doesn’t diminish the fact in my mind.

I just feel most comfortable cracking jokes (mostly of the sarcastic sort); it’s my way of facing the ridiculousness of life.

And, on the rare occasion that I’m doing the keep quiet and listen thing, I’m smiling.


Sometimes inappropriately so. Okay, mostly inappropriately so.

I guess it’s my awkward, nervousness coming out to play (not to mention my non-smiling face is just down right scary) when faced with the uncomfortable situation that leaves you, a perfect stranger, crying in my office about how your cat died from cancer on the anniversary of your divorce.

Not much I can do but smile, despite the fact that it may not be the expected response.

But, there are certain situations in which even I can’t be funny.

Certain moments or memories or events that, even 10 years later, I can’t muster up a single joke about. And, there is no hope of me smiling.

September 11, 2001 is one of those memories.

Everyone has a 9/11 memory.

It may not be one that is particularly tragic or specifically worth sharing, but it’s one of those life changing events that allows you to remember exactly what you were doing when you found out.


I was sleeping. 8 months pregnant with my first son and I was awoken (on the one day I could actually sleep in) by a phone call from my in-laws.

They were screaming about something. I was trying not to pee my pants (pregnant bladder is a beast, right?).

I hung up with them and turned on the TV to the horror. I cried. I made a bazillion phone calls that would not go through. I cried more. I really started to freak out when the Pentagon plane hit. I tried to call my husband, my father, and my mother (they all worked in DC at the time). All lines were dead. I REALLY freaked out. I ate something (the baby was not interested in skipping breakfast for this or any tragedy). I cried. And then, finally, I heard from my husband. And then my father and mother. And, I cried again. Harder than ever.

It was a scary time.

It was emotional and confusing.

It made me have feelings of anger and patriotism and selflessness I’d never felt before.

It created a memory.

10 years later I still remember.

Just like everyone else.

Except for that little baby who was moving around in my belly on 9/11 begging me for nourishment as I neglected him in favor of gluing my eyes to the TV and clutching the phone in my hands, he wasn’t around yet, so he doesn’t remember.

But, he has questions.

He sits by me on the sofa and watches each year as that horror plays out again and again on the screen.

He sees the images of the planes, and the sadness, and the fires, and the firefighters and he feels his own pain, and fear, and anger over the event.

He watches the specials about the kids living without fathers and mothers and he reaches out to hug me and tell me he loves me, because even at nearly 10 years old, he feels grateful to have his family.

So we talk about it. And, I use the few words I can come up with to try to make sense of the tragedy for him. Because that’s what parents do, right? Try to make sense of the senseless for their children. Try to explain things that there really is no explanation for.

I tell him that the people who did it were bad.

Bad, hateful people who were entirely delusional and probably even insane (I use those exact words, and he knows it’s mommy’s way of not using potty words).

And I tell him that they were captured (the Osama thing is a whole other can of worms that we still haven’t addressed because I’m still having a difficult time coming to grips with my own feelings about it) and forced to face the consequences of their bad choices.

And I lie to him. And make promises I can’t truly keep.

Not the hope-he-forgets-this-so-I-don’t-have-to-follow-through type promises parents like to make over dinner and in the face of a tantrums, but the please-God-let-me-be-right promises that you hope more than anything you can keep.

Because you want him to have memories. Of trips to the beach and first home-runs and graduation ceremonies. Happy memories gathered from having a long, happy life.

I know that he will one day learn all about 9/11; about the events and the politics and the survivors. I can’t keep him from that; I wouldn’t even want to.

But I am thankful that he won’t have to remember it.

At least I get to do that for him.

Dumb Mom pens the humorous lifestyle blog, parenting BY dummies, where she waxes poetic about everything from her life as a Mom Awesome Dude Mom, to her attempts to keep up her style after being ambushed by Stacy and Clinton from What NOT to Wear. She doesn’t give things away (often) and she rarely talks about cooking or cleaning or anything else she’s categorically opposed to. But, feel free to stop by for parenting advice, fashion advice, photography tutorials, and other random bits of awesomeness she considers herself an expert on.


blueviolet said...

I have one of those non-smiling mean faces too! :(

I chose not to watch the footage on this anniversary, because I just can't bear to see it again. I remember it too well still.

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

It was so hard to watch the footage yesterday!

Lioness said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I really appreciate your visit and follow. I must apologize for my tardy response.

I,however, look forward to exploring your blog.

Lioness-Your Newest Follower

coronaryrn said...

Yes, there is a time to be Serious, unfortunately I am married to a man that doesn't always understand this! LOL.. I did enjoy your post! Just Hopping along....trying to finish up Sunday's Bolg Hops! Follow back please @ and/or on facebook at

The Blonde Duck said...

You're such a good mom.

Big D and Me said...

We also talked about 9/11 these past couple of days with my 9 and 6 year olds - I also said made promises about safety that I can't always be certain will remain true. But what's the alternative. Scaring them and taking what's left of their innocence. No. I won't do it. Little by little we learn more and more.

Mom Fashion World said...

I stopped watching the video or else my pillow would be drenched. It's so heartbreaking to watch it.

Btw, I'm following you already via GFC.
Keep in touch!

Zen-Chakra said...

Hmmmm those goldfish seem to be THE snack of choice for little ones. You’d think he have a happy face to get one! hehe

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