Back from New York, still trying to catch up. Funny how a few days away can muddle everything up. Doesn't help that I have Carter home for the week on Spring Break, using his sniffle to demand breakfast in bed.
It was odd being back in Montclair, with its memories and Arron's ghost seeming to duck around corners wherever I looked. Carter and I went to look at our old house and bumped into the new owner and her two young children, so she invited us in. I was glad everything looked different, though amused that despite a great deal of work they have done on the house, the kitchen sink faucet still turns the wrong way, as it has ever since a left-handed Arron installed it that way. Carter was thrilled to see the tree house that his father built, and his old room. Afterwards we went to Carter's school and saw some of his old teachers who all remembered him. Later that afternoon he had a complete meltdown wondering why we ever left Montclair since all his friends were there. I had already been through a similar meltdown with Olivia in January when she returned from Montclair after a friend's Bat Mitzva. For a while I questioned my wisdom at moving. Perhaps I should have stayed, where the kids belonged, had friends, etc.
Talking myself down, I knew that the kids loved coming back for visits where their old friends treat them like rock stars, where everything is new and never boring. For me though, it's nice being almost anonymous in Seattle, where 9/11 just doesn't seem to have the same meaning, where I am not forever known as a widow, where the kids are not known with a 9/11 prefix. Its the friends we miss, those people who know us so well because they have been through the war zone with us. I know the move was right, but to a lonely 9 year old in a house full of friends to skateboard and play video games with, Seattle must seem kind of gray and boring.
On Friday night, I was once again catapulted into the limelight for the Tuesday's Children "Women of Strength" event, at the very swanky Yale Club in Manhattan. It was wonderful seeing my Tuesday's Children "family," though I missed having the time to properly catch up. My "C" name, ensured that I was the first person awarded. I was astonished to be handed a surprisingly heavy statue in chrome and glass, depicting a woman's form thrusting a large glass globe of the world above her. I almost had to laugh at the metaphor, it was so apt: a woman perpetually holding a beautiful crystal globe above her head. She seemed to represent the struggles of my own crazy life of raising two kids alone. I was also handed a very official looking "Citation" complete with gold seals and ribbons and signed by Robert T. King, Member of Congress. I was so taken aback. This organization which started me on the road to writing has given me so much. My hope is that through my words, their clear message of hope and strength gets passed on to others in need.
Debra Morrison, my financial advisor (and videographer) captured me (and the table's centerpeice :)) in this video of my acceptance speech.