On September 11, I was student teaching in 2nd grade. Mid morning the principal came to each room tell us what had happened. At the time I don't think I even realized what the Trade Center was. At lunch we gathered around the staff room tv. Our usually chatty group silent.
The school opted to not mention the attack to the elementary students, but slowly during the day parents came to pick up their children. During the afternoon many children left school While no mention of the attack was made, the student body picked up on the staff anxiety and many negative behaviors happened. At the end of the day a short statement was made so the children wouldn't be exposed to new information on the bus ride home because all our grade levels ride the same buses.
My own children were in middle school and high school at the time. Our son had visited New York City the year before. The differences in my children's reaction was difficult to manage. Amy, a middle schooler had seen the news coverage at school and was upset. She did not want to listen or hear any more of the news. Brad, was horrified, yet couldn't turn away from the news. He came home from school and sat in front of the tv. Frustrated by the lack of answers he kept switching between stations, and even moved a smaller tv into the room so he could have information from two or three stations on at once. This raised Amy's tension even higher. She spent most of the evening avoiding the TVs.
My husband was on the last day of a business trip to Cancun Mexico. He had seen the coverage from the Miami news stations. He'd been 4 or 5 days and we were already very ready for him to come home. We were hopeful he'd still return the next day.
The lawn needed to be mowed so I went out and rode the riding mower for a couple of hours. I now see this as my needing to be alone to process the situation, and unfortunately I isolated myself from the children's hugely differing needs and conflict.
Over the next days my husband was grounded in Mexico. His trip was extended indefinitely. He, and his boss and the travel staff went to the airport every morning and they would be told to go back to the resort because the flights were not leaving. Since the resorts had no new customers flying in the comped the rooms for the group. Day after day they'd arrive early and after waiting several hours they'd go back to their rooms. At one point the group he was traveling with even explored renting a car and driving out of the country. He was scheduled to leave again for Canada within a few days, a trip that would later be canceled due to the length of their first trip, and their reluctance to fly again once they finally arrived home.
I remember as I rode the lawn mower feeling very sorry for myself. The kids were fighting, I was in the middle of student teaching and my husband was gone. While I was frustrated by all that, I knew that at some point my husband would come home. I sadly lay awake that night thinking of all the families whose loved ones had died, thinking of the mothers who would be left to raise children alone. Thinking of the children mourning their fathers and mothers.