It’s September 11. Do You Remember What You Were Doing?

I’ll share something with you that I’ve never told you before.

I got engaged on September 11, 2001.

I woke up that morning like it was any other, hopped in the shower. Mike and I had a fight the night before about where we were heading, and how soon we would get there. Believe it or not, I was worried about the growing relationship with him and Maxi-Me. She was three-years-old, we were (temporarily) living in sin and she was calling him “Dad.” She was out on the balcony of our condo apartment, and some kids yelled up for her to come and play. She said, “Okay, let me go ask my dad.”

That had me fuming. He moved in with me after a lay off, and gave up his apartment in Beverly Hills. We both agreed that the shacking up was temporary–we both knew we were going to get married at that point.

But Libra that he is, he was weighing out everything, taking his turtle time. So that night we fought because I didn’t want my little girl calling him Daddy if he didn’t deserve that title.

I’m showering, and Mike and Maxi-Me burst in. Mike eyes are filled with tears. Kayla says “Mommy New York is on fire!” I look at them both, confused about what was happening. He tells me to hurry up and look at the television. I’m mildly annoyed, because I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of what was going on and my morning meditative shower was interrupted. Dripping wet, I looked at the plane hit the World Trade Center, fell back onto the couch, and cried. We would find out later that Mike’s old Boston College room mate, Peter Mulligan, a stock broker at Canter Fitzgerald, perished with thousands of others. The company lost 650 employees, and he was one of them. “What a horrible day to show up early,” Mike tells me.

I went to work and joined the zombies looking at the news reports in the conference room. We all sat, stunned. No work would be done that day. We all went home.

I remember feeling angry and frightened more than I had ever been in my life. I worried just like everyone, about what other horror might come in the upcoming days, weeks, or months.

That night, while we were watching more September 11 carnage, Mike got up and turned off the television. I was still a little mad at him, but that was sidelined by more important discussions, like whether or not this was the start of World War III.

He told me he had something to show me. He runs upstairs, I hear him rummaging around, and he comes bolting back down.

With a little box.

With a ring in it. He’d had it hidden in his shoes for weeks. In fact, he bought two, so I could choose which one I wanted.

From that point on, we would face whatever fallout would come from Al Queda, and I felt a little less scared, because Maxi-Me and I would be going through it with my soon-to-be husband, and we were going to be a family.

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