The wicked witch is dead. Dead as a doornail, lying somewhere at the bottom of the sea. It feels odd to celebrate the death of a person, but he wasn’t really a person, was he? He truly was evil incarnate. Good riddance.
That said, Osama bin Laden indirectly did me a favor back in 2001. Chloe was only 8 months old. We had just returned from a trip to France on September 10. My husband almost went to his company’s NY office in the World Financial Center on 9/11, but instead chose to work in NJ. I was in our apartment with the baby (I hadn’t yet started working as a first year at my former law firm, located across the street from Ground Zero) when I first heard about a “small” plane that crashed into the World Trade Center.
The story very quickly got a lot bigger than a small plane, and I rushed downstairs to watch the TV coverage at my mom’s apartment (we lived in the same building at the time). We were glued to the news for days. We saw the towers burning from my mother’s terrace. But we were lucky. We didn’t have any victims among our immediate network of family and friends, despite our deep roots in the tri-state area.
Nevertheless, the events of that horrible day had a lasting effect on me. Until then, I always thought that I would be happy with just one child. That one child would be enough. That being an “only child” got a bad rap. Indeed, I was ambivalent about having more kids after Chloe. But then, terror struck, very close to home.
The wheels started spinning in my head as I spent time with my beautiful baby during those scary days. First, the overarching question: “What have we done, bringing a baby into a world where this kind of horror can occur?” “Will Chloe’s generation ever know peace?” “Will we ever be the same again?” And finally, “If terror becomes the norm rather than the exception and something were to happen to my husband and me, what would happen to Chloe?”
I knew the answer. The ambivalence disappeared. Chloe would not be an only child, not if I could control it. We’d get her a sibling, by hook or by crook. Enter beautiful baby Sophie, a little more than 4 years after September 11. Yes, the two of them may fight a lot. But they’ll always have each other, even after we’re gone.
Thanks, Osama, for helping me to see the light. We created one more American for you to despise, you terrible, terrible monster.