I used to believe that my parents knew everything. My father and mother seemed to know how to handle every situation and answer any question that life could bring to them. Now I think a bit differently. I know how difficult decisions can be now. I know that there is no handbook and even as brave and as confident as you may appear to your children, inside you feel scared and unsure. I have always known that there would come a day when my children started to ask questions that even their parents would have a difficult time explaining.
This moment came on the very first day of our family vacation to New York City, while visiting the memorial for the World Trade Center. It was rainy, and it seems appropriate that it was, this hallowed ground was not a joyous place and the weather just solidified that feeling, ominous as I have heard it described. It is hard to know what a six year old boy is feeling sometimes, but the emotion on the face of my son painted a picture that said he was feeling the same thing as me. He didn’t speak much while we were there, no one did at first. Then my daughter, my beautiful, sensitive, loving daughter started asking questions. At that point I knew that she would get to some questions that I would have to let her figure out on her own. Her parent, her hero, her all knowing idol would not have the answers to the feelings and the sadness and the hope that she was looking for. That time came, a private time, shared with one special family that was isolated from the rest of the world grieving as best we knew how for the strangers we had never met, and never would.
All alone, surrounded by hundreds of people, yet standing with only ourselves. My daughter, at the end of her questions, at the end of her paying respect looked up crying gave me a hug and said, “Daddy can we leave now?” We did, and the rest of our vacation was filled with fun and laughter and other special moments that families share while on their summer vacations. But that moment, the one that we shared remembering, that will never, ever leave my heart for as long as I live. Thank you Amalie for capturing your feelings in these photographs, and thank you for letting me capture these feelings with my words.