Friday, August 19, 2011

The Summer Before

I took these photographs of my family while we were visiting my mom in St. Lucia in August 2001. It was less than a month before 9/11 knocked us into a parallel reality, making these photographs seem especially poignant to me. My son was nine and my daughter was seven and their dad, who they liked to call Papa Bear, was a convenient pop prop as I snapped these pictures. He was in conversation across the table. I love the easy way my son is leaning into his dad but there is something solemn in my daughter's eyes. Truth is, she wore this expression a lot as a young child, which is such a counterpoint to her often laughing dancing countenance now. The year before I took this, she had drawn a picture of the Twin Towers being struck by lightening storms and she wrote an accompanying story about the towers falling over. She had a friend from whose roof she could see the towers clearly, and was always drawing pictures of them that year. Months after the planes hit, she told me she had dreamed the big fire, but she thought it would happen much later, when she was a teenager. I have the picture she drew. I plan to scan and post it in observance of the tenth anniversary of the tragedy, as a remembrance and a wish that my children, and all of us, will reshape the temper of our planet in the next ten years.


  1. Has there ever been a time when this planet was a safe place to live?
    I think the dangers just change shape.
    It is the hardest thing to know that we cannot always protect our babies. Our beautiful babies.

  2. Your daughters eyes are telling. . .almost knowing. I love,love,love your pictures. And can't wait to see the one your daughter drew.

    Hugs to you, the Papa Bear and the "baby" bears.

  3. What a prophetic little soul!

    "It was less than a month before 9/11 knocked us into a parallel reality..."

    and my goodness, that is exactly how it feels/felt isn't it? We're the same, but still more fragmented than we were before.


  4. Wow.

    So many thoughts surrounding this post. Personal loss, shared experiences - more than I care to write.

    But, my initial thought seeing your children was how fast they grow up. My mom always says that she wishes she could shrink us all back down because we weren't little long enough. There is nothing quite like the safety of childhood. As I have grown I realized that safety is probably only in the mind but what a wonderful feeling. Nowadays feeling safe in this world only comes in spirts.

  5. Your daughter's eyes are riveting in that first photo, and the love oozing off the second one is palpable. Your words are perfect - a parallel reality describes it perfectly. How can a decade have passed since that awful day already?

    We just rewatched Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night on Netflix with the kids, and the New York Skyline is featured throughout the series, which filmed from 1998-2000. Seeing the towers gleaming like sentinels, remembering life before, was a very sobering experience.

    I look forward to your memorial post.

  6. Love each pic so much. They make me smile. Thank you for this on my Saturady!
    xo, misha

  7. wow, the dreams and foresight of children, and yours are beautiful, as is papa bear.
    and you.


  8. The eyes, the eyes, the eyes -- of everyone in your family. Remarkable in their depth and haunting --

  9. Children grow up so incredibly fast, don't they? I've been enjoying my daughter who is home for a rare visit. Seems like just yesterday that she was six.

  10. I had not realized how much time had past since 9/11 until I saw the photos of your children.....really eerie in a weird way....mine must have grown older too....yes? And how prophetic is your little one?