Life as Mom
Hello. My name is Andrea, and I’m a mom. But before I get into my life as a mom, let me give you some background information.
I’m one of those transplants that North Carolina has become quite familiar with — Long Island, N.Y. to be exact. My family and I moved to Harrisburg in October 2006. Right from the get-go we were asked the infamous question: “What made you move to North Carolina?” I learned pretty quickly how to give the short version, but here’s the exact details as to how the move came about.
My husband was a New York City firefighter for about 10 years. He loved his job. He loved the camaraderie of men, hanging out in the kitchen and cooking meals for the guys, and, most importantly, knowing how important his job was; he loved helping others. But then 9/11 came, and his whole world changed.
I, like so many others, will never forget that day. We had only been married for a year, and I was working as a middle school math teacher. Being in a classroom, I was not aware of what had just transpired (the planes crashing into the towers). When I finally had a break, I ran to the office phone to check my messages on my home answering machine (Rich, my husband, was working that day — Queens, N.Y.). His message can still bring tears to my eyes… “Hey Ang, you have probably heard what has happened. We are getting ready to go in. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I just want you to know that I love you.” How do you go back and teach math after hearing that?! When the final bell rang, I couldn’t get home fast enough. I sat on the couch with the phone in one hand and the remote in the other. Family and friends were continually calling, but I had not heard from Rich, not until about 10 p.m. that night. Thank God he was OK, but they lost someone from their house — Ray York.
I did not get to hug and cry with my husband until three days after 9/11. He wouldn’t leave Ground Zero. He had to help with search and rescue, and I knew that that was dangerous too. When he finally walked into the door and hugged me, he just melted. I have never seen him cry before. He was/is always the strong one. What do you say? I tell you, he really felt like he lost 343 brothers.
So, how does this bring us to North Carolina? Within the year Rich developed many health ailments that led to an early retirement — disability to be exact. He was lost. What’s he supposed to do with the rest of his life? Since 9/11, we started a family. He always dreamed that they would know him as a fireman; now how will they see him? We started to contemplate moving, a fresh start and somewhere warmer. Close friends of ours were moving to a small town right outside Charlotte, so we decided to check it out. Viola! We are no longer New Yorkers, but now North Carolinians. What brought us here? A date. Sept. 11, 2001.
Next time I will start talking about life as mom…