Mary Panza

The date 9/11 strikes sadness, horror, loss and for some, anger. Normally, on this date, I watch the morning shows and they show the footage of the planes going into the towers and then the towers collapsing. 9/11 is one of those days that everyone can remember where they were and what they were doing. Today was different not because it wasn’t sad and awful. It was. Today was also beautiful. Today a baby was born.

Babies are born every day. I love infants. I love to snort them. They smell like life. Then they poop and I give them back. My great nephew was born today. He was big and beautiful and screaming and I love him. My brother had texted me at 4:18 this morning. I got up, took a shower, got dressed and did what anyone would have done. I woke my girl up and we went and got coffee and dounuts for my brother, his ex-wife, my nephew’s in-laws and pretty much anyone in the waiting room. It is what we do. My people are a lot of things. We are vengeful, clannish, suspect of others and loud. I know for myself if holding grudges was an Olympic sport that I would be on a box of Wheaties. We also love an occasion. Births are amazing. Death is inevitable. I have heard new age asshole gurus say that the “how” is not important. I don’t know if I believe that. I think the how sets the tone for what is to follow. He got here today. Today is his day to join us on this fucked up world. How he got here is important. He got here because of love. That is what this day will mean to my family for as long as we are here.

I was on the horn with Capri the whole morning as I am most days. We both said without saying that there is a stigma to this date and what a shame it is to have this birthday. I don’t feel that now. I am thinking ahead to 9/11 five years from now when his parents are bringing some gluten free, nut free, sweetened with a bee’s ass treat into his class for his birthday. There will be parities and cakes and laughing and kisses for this boy on his birthday. We will have his mother and father tell the birth story. He will have a crazy loud family with superstitions set so far back in time from a country so far away. He will ask why we are crazy and we won’t have an answer for him. Hopefully he won’t care because he will know that we are here to keep him safe and loved. That is our job.

Today, the family that my mother began goes on. We are happy and healthy and have one more. We go forward. That is how we honor her and those that have come before us. We go forward.