I woke up that morning and got dressed as thoughts of my daughter filled my mind. It was September 11, and today she would be three years old.  I wondered what activities her parents had planned for her. I wondered, as always, how much taller she was getting, how good her speech was … was her hair still the color of honey? Had her eyes stayed that shade of incredible bright blue?

Unfortunately, my thoughts would be interrupted, as I had to head to work with my husband. It was only Tuesday, and I felt like it would be a long day and week. I arrived at work and started my normal duties of stocking the break rooms with coffee and putting paper in the copiers. As the morning came into full swing, I again began work on redoing the manager’s filing system, making new labels, and changing out the overflowing folders for larger ones.

As I was busy in my work, letting my mind wander back to my daughter, I remembered three years ago at that time I was in somewhat early, but active, labor. I had called my social worker to let her know I would be heading to the hospital that afternoon. My thoughts were again interrupted, this time by a coworker rushing to the cubicle I was in, telling me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I didn’t think much of it, other than that was terrible. Then she came and said another plane had crashed into the other tower. I still didn’t fully understand– I didn’t realize that the planes were huge passenger jetliners. I didn’t register yet that we were being attacked. All I wanted to do was reflect on my lovely daughter whom I still missed with all my heart.

As I continued my work, I heard about the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, and then I finally started to ask myself, “What is happening?” I knew we were being attacked. Immediately, I was extremely grateful my daughter was tucked away safely in Montana. I then worried about my mother, because, even though she was in Utah, she is in the military and works in a government building.

At this time, of course, we as American people did not know if there was anything else to come. Was it just planes? Were they also going to attack with bombs on the freeways? What else could possibly happen? I then became very angry when I realized that so many innocent people had just perished. And I was saddened at the collapse of the towers. And even angrier still, it happened on my daughter’s birthday! I knew her family would still go on with birthday plans and have as much fun as they could for her sake, but I pictured her in school years from now and knew they would forget her birthday soon and talk about how so many died because a few were heartless. To many, this may sound selfish that I worried about her more, but one must understand that three years before, on that day, we were mother and daughter. She still belonged to me, and there was no one else in the world– just us.

After the tragic events, the day wore on and then ended, and I cried many times for the victims of that day, but I determined that I would not let it overshadow what I had three years ago. Because I had just moved and started a new job, I had not yet written to my daughter and her parents for her birthday. So I sat down and finally wrote the letters.  I told my daughter that September 11th would still always be her day. While she should remember all those lost, she should remain happy because that is the day she came into the world and changed the lives of her parents– and changed my life as well. So the day was not robbed of us– it just had more meaning. So on her fourth birthday, I will celebrate her birth and cry inside for all those lost. So “Happy Birthday,” dear child of mine. Remember your day is a day of great change.