Thursday, September 11, 2014

Grateful

Sharing a little something different then my usual blog posts today. After all, a day like today deserves something more special, don't ya think? We all have our story from September 11th. Where you were when you heard, how you felt when we realized our country had been attacked by terrorists and all the days after that waiting and hoping more people would be found alive amongst the rubble. My story doesn't compare to so many others yet I feel writing about it is very therapeutic...so here it goes.

I was a recent college graduate and working at an Internet startup company in NYC. I was about 20 blocks from the Twin Towers and had a straight line view of them outside my office. I commuted into NYC this day like every other, except on Tuesdays, my dad commuted with me to his office. We parted in Penn station where I hopped on the subway to head downtown and he headed to his office in midtown next to the Empire State Building. I exited the subway that morning about two minutes after the first plane hit. When I hit the sidewalk and saw everyone pointing up to the World Trade Center and saw black smoke and fire coming from a gigantic hole in the side of the building I immediately started asking people what happened. Someone mentioned a plane hit it and all I could think was a small piloted plane must have wiped the building and fell to the ground, boy was I wrong. I went right up to my office to find out nothing had been reported yet but could hear the slew of sirens outside heading downtown. I called my mom right away and said one of the Twin Towers had a fire and I wanted to make sure that our Uncle no longer worked there, luckily he didn't. After hanging up with her all the phones almost immediately stopped working and all I was left with was instant messenger where I reached out to my college friends to spread the news. All within the fifteen minutes that I was in my office the second plane hit and we heard the most horrible noises coming from our beloved city. We all ran out of our building to see what was happening only to witness the second tower also in flames, broken windows of trapped people waving for help and the unfortunate fate of people who took their own lives by jumping out of windows, it was all devastating tragic. I knew at that moment to not go back to work but to head uptown away from the chaos that was consuming lower Manhattan. I had left everything in my office except my cell phone, I was so unprepared for what was unfolding that day...I just kept running uptown to my dads office trying to reach him over and over to tell him to get out of his building {I was afraid the Empire state building was next}. I miraculously got through to him around 14th street where he said he would evacuate as soon as I got there. As I reached midtown Manhattan I witnessed the first tower fall to the ground to say it was surreal doesn't give it justice. I literally couldn't believe my eyes were watching this happen and I felt paralyzed by fear. I saw New Yorkers screaming, running, crying and trying to get into closing stores to use phones. I eventually made it up to my fathers office only to evacuate all of his employees uptown to our families apartment. While heading uptown we were able to check in on my sister and her husband to make sure they were all okay. We all watched the news on repeat showing the planes hit and all the events unfolding thereafter. My poor mom was stuck at our house on Long Island while her entire family was in NYC, unreachable and unable to get home. In a total haze of the days events I had no idea what the following days, weeks and months would dish out. The next day I found out some college friends were missing and some people from my hometown. I attended daily candlelight vigils at homes of my missing friend, endlessly searched the web for news of people who were recovered and constantly called friends homes to hear if any good news had been discovered. Unfortunately too many good people including my friend didn't make it home and are forever missed, especially my friend Pete.


 I think of you often, more today then any other day. I will always remember our four hour drive back to Long Island for the Thanksgiving holiday freshman year. Seeing your family pile out of the house with excitement knowing you were home, including your adorable three legged pooch that warmed my heart. I am grateful that four years later during our first year of working in NYC together that I got to run into you at the train station for quick catchups and the occasional commute home on the hellish extra long local train back to Long Island where you would be carrying piles of books for all the finance tests you had to take. Every time I hear Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" I can picture you at a Bentley College party singing along and have to believe you are doing good things up in heaven as you did here on earth. You are forever missed. 

You may have seen the gratitude challenge going around on Facebook. Something I was tagged in from my sister. For five days you share three things you are grateful for and tag others in to do the same. I thought I would take the opportunity to share my challenge here in one post and challenge anyone else who is interested to do the same.  So below is my challenge completed in one day, all 15 things I am most grateful for today more then ever. 

1. I am grateful that this day 13 years ago everyone in my family made it out of NYC unharmed. 
2. I am grateful that everyone in my family is healthy & happy. This is the best gift.
3. I am grateful for my parents and siblings, nothing is better then when we are all home together.


 I am grateful for my husband, he is my best friend, my soul mate and my entire world. I don't know how I got so lucky. 


5. I am grateful for my four beautiful nieces that make me smile everyday.


6. I am grateful for the friends I have made in college {not all shown}. They are still my best friends today & forever.


7. I am grateful for the friends I have made in Boston as an adult, they are people I hope to know for years and years to come.


8. I am grateful for my families furry babies. These four legged family members bring so much happiness and laughter to our life, even when they are naughty.


9. Grateful for my "faux" cousin & first friend who I can count on for the longest running inside jokes and the most ridiculously funny memories with. 


10. I am grateful for all the travel I have been fortunate enough to experience past and present.


11. I am grateful for my in-laws who raised the wonderful gentleman that I get to share my life with.


12. I am grateful that 3 years ago we were given a wedding that fulfilled all our dreams and more.


13. I am grateful for laughter, nothing feels better then something that makes you laugh till it hurts.


14. I am grateful for our little city home. We will always remember this apartment as our first place together and where we dream of big things for the future.


15. I am grateful for so much more then I could ever list here but I am most grateful for the life I get to live and the people I get to share it with. I am one lucky lady and I remind myself of it everyday!

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