How could we will never forget?  It was one week before my 31st birthday and we were planning a party, since I was pregnant with twins for my 30th 🙂

On that day, my twins were just under a year old….we were just waking up to get Reece ready for preschool….when I got the phone call from my Mom, urging me to turn the TV on.


That day sparked an anxiety attack that would last more than 3 years.  It would mean therapy, biomedical intervention, and ultimately, medication…..I didn’t realize it until years later that 9/11 was actually a catalyst for the fear I lived in.  I assumed it was just from having 3 kids under the age of 2, and then having my oldest diagnosed with autism. (which of course had a LOT to do with it…hello – hormones!)   Sure, we all inherit “the fear” when we have children….that’s something nobody ever tells you.  The dreams!  The vivid dreams of horrible things happening to your newborn baby….they shocked me.  But by the time the twins were born, I was used to them I guess.  The difference was that the dreams didn’t stay with me.  9/11 ~ stayed with me.

I somehow found the courage (with the help of a lot of Xanax) to get on a plane to New York a year later.  Andrew‘s film was screening there and someone needed to be there to deal with the logistics.  This is another example of how amazing my husband is.  He had seen me retreat into a dark place and was worried about me.  He knew that “pushing” me to go to NYC alone – away from my babies, away from my comfort zone, would be good for me.  I thought he was C-R-A-Z-Y.  And of course, at first I objected….how could I do that?!   I cannot tell you how hard it was being on that plane.  Let’s just say…..I don’t remember a lot of that plane ride.

While there, I visited Ground Zero.  I took photos, of course, but I was shooting film back then so not nearly as many as I would take today.



These were flags still hanging near Ground Zero.  SO many of them…..tributes to all those lost and gone.  There were still missing persons signs…..

There is definitely something cathartic about traveling alone….very powerful therapy!  Over the next 2 years, my anxiety would worsen… the point where I felt powerless to it.   I think this is why it’s even harder for me to remember 9/11…..because I never, EVER, want to feel that much fear again.

Today, my twins are just under 10 years old and anxiety is something I haven’t really dealt with in over 5 years.  I’ll be 40 years old in one week.  Perspective.

So today, I choose to be grateful.   Grateful for the journey that has led me here, for my healthy children, for my own health, and for a country I am so proud to live in….with all it’s imperfections, all it’s craziness.  Even amidst the chaos and horror of that day, I know we were all deeply proud to be Americans on that day.


  • Renee, Thanks so much for sharing these thoughts and feelings. 9/11 changed all of us, but you capture it so well in this personal perspective. I remember that day as the beginning of a heightened anxiety that we constantly battle. I try to remember that for every loss there is a lesson to be learned, and hopefully one that will make us stronger. I think your journey and your spirit show this well. By the way, 40 = XL. You will excel in this new decade! Love you, Nanny.

  • Precious Renee…I think you expressed much of what most people (myself included)felt and still feel. Life, as we knew it, was forever changed on that day! Thank you for sharing your heart with us and these pictures…Love you!

  • Well, I’m crying again – you’re incredible, Renee. I remember vividly the phone call to you that morning, 9/11/01. I had a sudden urge to speak to my children that day to make sure they were alright. Your thoughts on that day, and of course your journey since then, are inspiring. I, too, am so grateful for life, love, and my country. I’ve been watching 9/11 specials on TV today. The stories of some of the people who survived by escaping the towers are amazing, and the stories of all the heroes on that day who did not survive – well they really touch my heart. I love you, Mom

  • I am constantly amazed at how incredible you are. You have the richest soul and spirit of anyone I know. You inspire me. I am very glad I get to share this life with you.

    Your best friend

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