I remember.

The anniversary of 9/11 probably doesn’t knock the wind out of me like it does for many of you. I don’t know a single person who died that day. I don’t even think I know someone who was devastatingly impacted by what happened that day. If I do, they’ve never mentioned it and that’s a sad story too.

I think if I were to go see the site where it happened, it might knock some sense in me even now. I only say this because I also remember what happened right here in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. On the morning of the Oklahoma City bombing I was having breakfast with my dad at a mom-and-pop diner in Owasso. That was a Wednesday and even now I don’t know what I was doing home that day. It was the middle of the week and I’m guessing I was normally in class at OSU, but for some reason I was home and my dad wasn’t at work and we were having biscuits and gravy and watching Oklahoma fall apart on a grungy small screen with foil-wrapped bunny ears.

I remember both of us not talking that much.

In the days after that I absorbed that news like much of the state, only I didn’t know anyone who died, nor did I know anyone who knew anyone. I got several calls from friends wondering about me and people I know. I was thankful for the concern, but almost felt guilty that my personal life was not impacted by the tragedy.

Picture 16
Earlier this summer I went to the Oklahoma Bombing Memorial for the first time and I remembered with pain in my heart, mind, and eyes. I remembered.

Picture 17
I taught my children to remember too.

Picture 18
The morning of September 11, 2001 was like most of the other mornings of my life with a 2yo, 1yo, and pregnant with a third existence. Most of my mornings from that period of life are a complete blur. I don’t remember right now even why I had our own grungy small screen with foil-wrapped bunny ears television set on. Chances are good I was hunting for Sesame Street. Or maybe Craig called and told me to turn it on. I don’t know. But I did turn it on, and I saw what the rest of you saw and was numb like many of you probably were. And irrationally afraid that maybe NORAD would be a target and darn it if we didn’t live really, really close to Cheyenne Mountain.

I remember watching all day and only being able to think about it because I was alone with my 2yo and 1yo. I remember driving around town by myself after dinner in a complete daze because I needed to get out of the house, get away from the TV, get away from my own reality. I ended up at a large church with a full parking lot. I thought maybe I’d hear something that made that day make sense. I ended up walking in as it was pretty much over and so I found a corner, I knelt, I cried, I prayed.

I drove back home and life went on. Ten years’ worth of life, in fact.

Because I didn’t know anyone involved and because I am physically distant from the location of the devastation, I’ve also become emotionally distant. I don’t know that that’s wrong, but once again, I’m feeling just a bit guilty that my personal life was not impacted by the tragedy.

I don’t want to be paralyzed by a grief that on a personal level isn’t mine to own, but I don’t want to be numb to a grief that is America’s to bear together as a nation.

And so I take this moment in time to pause. To pray. To remember. Life will continue to go on, it always does.

But for now, I remember.

Oklahoma City Septemberfest

OKC Governor's Mansion

Earlier today I called out to the girls, “Hey, you want to do something fun? Get dressed! We’re leaving in ten minutes!”

Basically, there’s this annual tradition of being able to tour the Governor’s Mansion that has morphed into a big ginormous party. There were tons of things to do and, in fact, I just realized we didn’t even know about all the stuff INDOORS inside the Oklahoma History Center. Ah, well, there’s always next year.

In truth, we were there almost four hours and I can tell you, we were ready to leave when we left. But it was awesome and I’m glad we went.

There’s no way I can post all the photos I took or even give a list of everything we did (or wanted to do but didn’t), but I can give you a sampling. One important note is that it was all free! Normally those types of events seem to have a section of cool stuff that you have to pay for. All the cool stuff here was also free. But what that meant was…LINES! Not unexpected, I know, but something to be aware of on the front end.

The first booth we stopped at was the OKC Zoo booth. They had a nice display of information, crafts, and hands-on learning.

OKC Zoo Exhibit
Here are some of my kids making bracelets and bookmarks at either the Red Earth  Museum & Gallery or the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art booth (I can’t remember which one this is!):

Museum Fun
And then here we are, standing in line to go inside the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion. Don’t we all look so thrilled to be standing there?

Governor's Mansion
And then imagine our surprise when the governor herself, Mary Fallin, walked by right in front of us. Imagine even MORE surprise when all of my girls went, “Who? The governor is a woman?” Guess who forgot to tell her children who the governor of Oklahoma is before we toured her house? Yes. Political mom fail. We can talk more about that later. Ahem. Moving on then. A photo:

Governor Mary Fallin
And one of the many line-infested inflatables/bungie jump swing things:

Swinging Fun
It was here where we turned into raging monsters got a tad cranky. The line was long, it was right around lunch time, it was super hot. And then, after waiting in the line for FOREVER, a kid from the back cut the line right in front of us. My girls were not happy about it. I told them that some things you just had to live with. And then the punk boy called over to his sister to join him in his newly buffeted position in line. It was at this moment I calmly said to him, “Hey. You know, we know you were behind us and now you are in front of us. Not much we can do about that at this point. But I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t invite a big group of your friends over here to join you now that you’ve done it.”

Yep. Mama needed a time out too. Moving on then.

So there was a pretty awesome agricultural display. This fella in the picture with E7 gives a literal meaning to the term HOLY COW!

Ginormous Cow
And then we hit the historical section. I was fascinated to learn of this whole group of people who do something referred to seemingly officially as “Rendezvous and Muzzle Loading” (that link was the closest I could find to what I think he was talking about). In short, they do the period-costume and camping thing and they do it regularly, with their whole families. Interesting, for sure.

Here are my girls playing with some replica land-run era toys along with this little cutie who went on her first Rendezvous when she was just two weeks old!

Historical Toys
And on our way out we had to get a picture of K9 in front of her military vehicle namesake:

Military Vehicle
And one more – though I snapped this photo on our way in, it didn’t occur to me how funny it looks until on our way out. I think it’s hilarious that this giant state capitol sign is positioned where it is. I guess it’s for those of us who don’t, in fact, realize that they are standing right in front of said state capitol. Guess you just can’t assume anything here in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State Capitol
So there you have it. The Half-Pint House experienced Septemberfest today and overall we give it 10 thumbs up! I can see us doing this again next year for sure.