September 11th Twenty Years Later | A Father’s Love

Like most Americans, the anniversary of September 11th strikes viscerally. For some of you, you may have just been in grade school. For others, you had kids far from your reach. For some, you were in college.

I was in college. My senior year – the year where everything comes together. I was on the verge of graduating to go out into the big world. “Make your way,” they said. I was on a path to do that. My life was fairly void of big drama and our world was too. Until that day.

I was showering to get ready for work. My very glamorous job of working at the best sandwich shop in Baton Rouge by the way {Roly Poly}. I loved it. It was just another Tuesday. It was a beautiful day in Louisiana. Until my roommate ran all the way down the hall and yelled at me. “Something happened to a tower in New York City.”

And we sat. The two of us, huddled on The Today Show only to witness the 2nd plane hitting. I blindly drove myself to work because people need to be fed, right? Always. Food is good for the soul. We stayed open and had our little TV on in the corner. As I was wrapping sandwiches, we watched the falls. And my core died a little inside. 

Remember this was before smartphones. Or Facebook. Or really text messaging. So everything was via a phone call. My roommates and I went to mass that night because really, what else could we do except pray?

The memories of that Tuesday night through the next few days get fuzzy, mainly because I know I experienced my second round of anxiety attacks in my life. There have been many more since then. I do remember skipping classes and staying tuned to the TV, literally unable to function. I remember talking to my parents, often. I remember crying. And then on Thursday night, my Daddy said, “I’m coming to you.”

My parents lived in Dallas. The trip to Baton Rouge is not a short one and it was out of character for my dad to just be like, “I’m coming.” All of my parent’s trips to my little spot of heaven were always well planned in advance.

I think I breathed for the first time that night. My daddy was coming. His baby girl always. As much as I was struggling, I think he was struggling as well. What we forget now from 9/11 is that that we wanted to be near our people, as close as possible and hold them tight, however we could. We wanted this sense of being safe.

I needed my daddy’s arms to be safe.

And safe I was. My dad got to LSU and we went to lunch where he was properly dissatisfied with the service {I didn’t tell Dad that I went on a date with the server once. Awkward.}, then I realized I had a sorority event the next night and was struggling with wardrobe. My daddy took me to the Express at the big mall and bought me TUBE TOPS, y’all, to wear to our event. Please don’t judge. It was 2001. We know not what we wore. He sat patiently and then he paid the bill and all he wanted for me was to have a great time the next night. 

Funny. Because I don’t remember anything from that next night; I don’t remember who my date was, I don’t remember where it was. What I do remember is a dad who was spending the night in a hotel away from home to be with me as much as possible. I remember a dad who recognized what was truly important. Family. Together.

I hope I thanked him enough. When he was on his deathbed, I recounted the story to him. “Daddy, do you remember when you showed up to LSU and you bought me tube tops for a date?” I like to think he laughed.

But that truly was the epitome of that time. Families drew closer. We realized the preciousness of life and how quickly it could be snuffed out in mass. It shook us all. My strong daddy included, and me for sure. 

Americans drew closer. United. As we should be. We’ve lost some of that sadly in the last handful of years. I mourn that today too.

We are now twenty years later from September 11th. It blows my mind that my kids are learning about this event that shook me to my core by textbooks. It’s a part of history now. And it is OUR job to continue sharing our stories of that day, as heartbreaking and wrenching as it may seem.

May we honor and remember September 11th and #NEVERFORGET. 


 

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Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!

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