Friday, September 09, 2011

Anniversaries

This is the weekend for big anniversaries. The date 11 September has a lot of significance for us for two reasons.

On the Australian 11 September 2000 we arrived home from Guatemala with Will. It was exactly a week before the opening ceremony for the Sydney Olympic Games and we shared our flight from LA with the Brazillian Volleyball team. I'll ever forget the group of giants crammed into their cattle class seats, their knees awkwardly sticking out into the aisles.

Getting off that plane I was overwhelmed with so many different emotions. Mainly exhaustion. Long distance travel with a 16 month old baby we had known for less than a week was a totally new experience for me. I was probably bordering on hysteria, if I'm honest.

However coming through the gates was amazing. My family was there and a whole bunch of friends, especially those who had recently brought home their own boys from Guatemala. In some ways we were all the walking wounded; survivors of an ordeal which had left us all exhausted, frustrated and confused. Yet we had all come through and triumphed....

It is hard to describe how I felt holding my gorgeous little boy, my longed for, dreamt of son. The little boy who had waited for us for 16 months, neglected in a dirty cot in an orphanage in Guatemala City. Disbelief that he was real, that we were together, that bureaucracy had been overcome and we were home.

There is a photo of our group at the airport, holding our children, beaming. I adore that photo. It is meaningful and poignant.

My dad drove us home to our little house in Lisarow. It was clean and peaceful and quiet. And strange. We had been fighting a battle over three long years and now we had returned with the "spoils". It was hard to accept. The anti-climax was enormous. How to live in peace when you have been slowly conditioned for war?

A year and one day later, in a different house, our new house, we awoke to the horror of what was to become 9/11. September 11 changed our lives and the lives of most people around the world.

What a surreal day it was. To this day, despite 10 years going past, I can't accept what I saw that day. I so clearly remember turning on the early morning news that day and looking straight into an image of the first plane flying into the first tower. My brain reeled, at first thinking they were showing something from a sci-fi movie, but knowing instinctively that something was terribly wrong.

The next few weeks went by in slow motion. I became addicted to CNN, staying up until 1, 2, 3am... then rising at 5 am to watch again. I felt I needed to see what would happen next. It felt so important to see, to know...

So for us 11 September has a double meaning. It is the day our family changed forever and the day the world changed forever. The day our dream came true and the day the world woke to a nightmare.

Lest we forget.

4 comments:

Fiona said...

Oh, Kathy, dear friend,

It never ceases to amaze me how beautifully you transcribe all your thoughts down into the written word. Your words are so articulate;I feel like I am there with you, experiencing all that you describe. You are the writer I wish I could be.

Deep Kick Girl said...

Thanks Fiona. That's so kind. Good to know my navel gazing gibberish strikes a chord with people. I really appreciate your comment. Xxxx

Kath Lockett said...

What Fiona said. It's actually lovely to see that Sept 11th is also a joyous anniversary as well.

Carolyn said...

Hi Kathy, so feeling it! Thanks for your story. You tell an awesome, (and familiar) tale. Love,
Carolyn x