*Readers…I know, after ALL THAT, after all my carrying on about how you can come to muffintopmommy and always get the funny…I did the unthinkable today and am posting something on the serious side. I need to put in the fine print somewhere with an asterisk, that I reserve the right to get serious from time to time. Hey, even Conan’s doing it this week! And if you don’t like it, rest assured, a refund for your subscription will be promptly rendered! That’s what I thought!!!!!! As always, thanks for reading…
Do you remember where you were on January 15, 2009?
Lying in a hospital bed, cradling my five hour old newborn in the crook of my arm, I glanced over at the tv. I’m not sure why I even turned the tv on—the room was dark and I was supposed to be resting. My room had finally cleared out and my husband had gone home to get our two other sons so they could meet their much anticipated new baby brother.
I still felt a little hazy (Or high?) from the meds they gave me during my rapid fire (!) delivery (Please refer to, “The Break Up—I Thought I Knew You!”) and as I squinted toward the tv, I wondered if I might be seeing things.
“Oh no. Is that? Is that a plane in the Hudson River?” I whispered.
Baby did not respond—strong, (9 plus pound!) silent type.
I got an immediate pit in my stomach as I watched what looked like a scene from a terrible movie— the plane sort of suspended there, partially submerged in what had to be inhumanely cold water. Freezing air gripped the entire Northeast that day and I feared for the fate of the passengers. I wondered as I clutched my new bundle tighter —was it terrorism? Did it just crash? Would anyone live? Who was on board?
Nothing made sense. At all.
All of the lingering meds and pregnancy hormones combusted in my brain, as I imagined who might be on the plane.
Mommies and daddies? Children? Pregnant women? Expecting dads? Daughters? Sons? Brothers? Sisters? Friends? Grandmothers? Someone who might have the cure for cancer or the next life changing innovation? People whose life stories were incomplete, their dreams unfulfilled, their songs not yet sung?
Anytime someone dies—especially younger people and regardless if I know them or not—my mind always races with the same questions…What could they be? What would they be? If this… didn’t happen? How would the rest of their lives have played out and what sort of impact would they have had on the world? I’m not sure if I do this because my own sister passed away far too young when I was in high school, or if this is what everyone does. It’s just my normal, I guess. I have no other basis for comparison.
As I held my warm infant, and smelled his perfect head and marveled at his tiny fingers, I imagined and dreamed about the possibilities that would exist for him, for his hopefully very long life. “Welcome to the world!” I had exclaimed just a few hours ago. (Well, I’ll have to check the video—it might have come out more, “Awwww…wecumtothawhirllll…”, but I said it and I meant it—even if under the influence!)
But now it appeared a tragedy occurred on the day of his birth. It seemed exceptionally cruel. The whole thing. A plane full of innocents whose mothers once held them when they were a few hours old and likely dreamed for them the same dreams I had for my own son—possibly gone in a few moments?
And much less importantly? It crossed my mind that my son’s birthday would always be slightly marred coming into the world on the day of such a devastating event. And did I even deserve to be this happy on a day when others lost their loved ones and by human extension, a part of them?
As news started to trickle in though, optimism trumped dread. Squinting, it looked like there were tiny figures on the wings of the plane. ‘Scuse me? Rescue boats appeared! Eventually, it became clear every single person made it out alive.
Word quickly emerged about the incredible feat we now know transpired that day. Captain Sullenberger— maybe the only pilot who could land a plane safely in that situation—actually did avert disaster. How many times do I screech, “Disaster averted! Bleah!!” like a flat out crazy lady when I do stuff like barely miss burning the dinner? But this guy? This guy lands a freaking airbus on the Hudson River, next to one of the most congested cities in the world. He’s a DUDE! A STUD! He? Is.The.Man. The MAN! (Attention airline industry: Henceforth I fly only with Sully Sullenberger. Damn straight. Please make a note of it for when I book my next flight.) Sorry. I digress…Never mind if he had just crashed the plane into the river instead of landing it safely—haven’t we all been too scared to wonder what if he’d crashed it into the middle of New York City? He likely saved more than a plane full of mommies and daddies, sons and daughters, teachers and coaches, volunteers and engineers. He probably saved blocks and blocks of them.
I don’t know a thing about aviation. I know even less about plane crash statistics (and prefer to keep it that way, thanks). Everything I’ve read indicates Captain Sullenberger had to do everything right for that plane to land completely intact and for everyone to emerge safely that day. It’s all hard to fathom for a mere mortal like me–who carelessly banters the word disaster around.
For years my husband and I struggled with miscarriages and infertility before we had our first son–so we felt grateful, if puzzled, to have three healthy sons in four years with little medical intervention. So I’ve long since given up on figuring out the mysteries of science— never mind of life. I’ve tried repeatedly to wrap my head around it all, but I’m left with more questions than answers. (English major.) In the end, I have to believe it’s some kind of miracle. Because really? Like Sullenberger landing that plane against impossible odds, pretty much everything has to go right for a woman to go from un-pregnant to holding a real live baby. I don’t understand the mystery; I’m just a willing and grateful participant.
A lot has transpired both in the world and within the walls of my home over this past year. My newborn has grown probably ten inches, roughly tripled his weight. He’s learned to roll, sit, crawl, stand, and he can even walk a few steps. He’s got three (and a half?) teeth and a full head of enviable hair. He good naturedly survived wearing a helmet for three months—and we did, too. (Please see, “Oh No! We Have a Smelly Kid!”) He found his personality and his voice—he’s chatty (not in my native tongue, unfortunately) and stubborn like me and playful like daddy. He’s already been busted for ripping things, climbing on things and pulling on things—and been forgiven in an instant all for flashing a three and a half tooth grin. And for all my joking some days about the inmates running the asylum around here and how I’m going to hide under the kitchen table ’til daddy gets home, I get it. I know how lucky I am to be able to watch his brothers and him grow. Through their eyes, it’s all promising and new again. And when I start to forget this— something always pulls me back to reality. Sadly, I only have to think to events of this past week in Haiti to be reminded of my good fortune.
Some people might call it good luck that Captain Sullenberger, of such brilliant ability, was piloting that plane that frigid day. And some might call it a miracle. I’m not a super religious person, but I do believe in miracles. I do. And, when I look back on that day, I know I got to see not one, but two miracles. January 15, 2009 is a day I will never, ever forget. I feel honored—and that maybe it was good karma even— that my son was born that fateful day. And as I write this, as things look very dire, I hope for the people of Haiti that many miracles have occurred there this week as well.
If you wish to donate to help the people of Haiti, go to redcross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Or, text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross Haiti Relief.