Fires raged out of control in the Twin Towers as terrorist struck our home land with a life altering and tragic blow on 911.
My mind had yet to turn to anger. I was still in shock minutes after two airplanes struck New York City and invaded our lives. I was alone in the basement watching this story unfold. Then something else overcame me.
I needed a hug from my baby girl. I needed to make sure she was safe. Celine, a few days from turning two, played games and did puzzles in day care. She had no idea that the world changed that day. She was an innocent child enjoying her American freedoms.
I needed her in my arms. I needed to see that she was safe. It made no sense for terrorists to strike a Farmington Hills day care center when they had more spectacular targets to attack.
My thoughts turned irrational because what if my baby was in harms way? I had to pick her up, close my eyes, and give her the biggest daddy hug imaginable. I told my pregnant wife Abs of my plans and she did not object.
So Operation Save Celine began.
I stopped for gas and my eyes connected with a man on pump 2.
“Are you OK brother,?” the man asked. “Crazy day.”
I told him I was fine, but that my life would not be complete until picking up my child. By now rumors ran rampant. Terrorists were looking for soft targets. We may not have gas for long. And more planes were being used as guided missiles.
I had to get my baby.
By the time I arrived at First Impressions Ms. Lindsey was helping some kids get their jackets on. I wasn’t the only parent that needed a hug that day. So many wanted to bring their kids home that Ms Lindsey shut it down that day.
Our children were safe and we all wanted to keep it that way.
I loaded Celine in the car, listened to updates on the attacks, and was serenaded with the best concert of my life. It went something like this.
“Da, da. Da,da Dar, Darrrr, Darr.”
Celine called me Da da. And then she’d follow with Daaarrr. Daaarrrr.
That girl no longer calls me Da, Da. I am now King. That howling baby turns 21 years old today. The pig tails are gone. She no longer has tiny black eyes. She is a woman who sometimes drinks wine and is entering her senior year at Stanford University.
And I have new reasons to want to give her a hug today.
The west coast wild fires rage near her campus turning the sky yellow and orange. Covid-19 is a menace and I pray she does not catch it. I even worry about the stupid bull sharks that swim in a bay near her. It is a bay that I know she will never step foot in. But please forgive me. I’m a dad.
Celine provided the only ray of levity that fateful 911 day. I took her into the basement to watch television and gave her a big da da hug — one I needed so badly.
After our embrace Celine pointed to images of the Twin Towers and said “hot.”
She was already figuring things out as a young baby girl.
Happy birthday Celine. You owe dad another hug.