September 11, 2012. I woke up in the middle of the night with light contractions. I was actually excited. I got up, walked around, went through a few more contractions. Woke up my partner, called my doula, called my midwife. Only after the excitement wore off did I realize what day it was.
I remember coming to a conclusion: I will not be sad about this. This is MY day, and I'm not going to mourn that my child (we did not know it was a boy yet) chose to be born on this day. Besides, who knew how long I would be in labor; he might be born on the 12th or (god forbid) even later.
But he was born on 9/11/12. I was t0o preoccupied with the pain, fear, and excitement to think about it for the hours I was in labor. It was only afterwards, when talking to family members who (somewhat insensitively) decided to bring it up, that I realized this was something I, my partner, and especially my son were going to have to Deal With. As today is his first birthday, I especially feel the need to make my thoughts about the significance of his birth date known.
We throw around MLK quotes like they are going out of style, but his words feel especially poignant in this situation: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Love. My son is pure, innocent, energetic love. He loves hugs and kisses, wants to be held and touched whenever someone enters a room, and is calmed instantly by my embrace. His life, his love is a testament to all that is worth living for.
In the face breathtaking cruelty, it can be hard to remember love. When thinking about the World Trade Center terrorist attacks (which is how I refer to the tragedy, and hope you might consider doing the same), I try to imagine what Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were trying to accomplish. They were trying to invoke fear. Terror. Hopelessness. Unabashedly loving my son and celebrating the day he came into the world is the most powerful response to such heartlessness. Going out into the world unafraid, living your life, spreading joy, making love, telling your friends and family how much they mean to you is a form of social activism on this day. It is a day to reclaim our power, our hope, our families, our national identity. So yes, have a moment of silence and pay tribute to those who lost their lives twelve years ago. And then go out and live yours to the fullest today.