Reflections on a “Normal” Weekend

I’m writing this on Sunday evening after a weekend of what we consider to be “normal.”

I am still challenged to define normal because I don’t think it exists.

I know you have all been covered up with TV, magazine and internet stories about that fateful day in our country’s history. Frankly, I don’t think there are ever too many stories or too much coverage. I think we easily forget on a day-to-day basis as we go about our “normal” lives.

This year, more than others, probably because of the decade mark but also because of the age of my kids, we all talked out loud more.

It made me think of Alan Jackson’s powerful song, “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)” as discussions were based around remembering where you were the moment you heard the news of the planes hitting the towers.

This weekend we spent a lot of time talking about 9/11. Scary Baby had so many questions after they discussed it in school and she came home and looked back at our 2001 family photo album.

We prayed for those who lost so much. We spent some time reflecting on the last 10 years of our lives.

Ten years ago…

We had a two year-old whose biggest questions were about things like the caterpillar crawling up her arm at my Uncle Jack’s in Indiana.

My daughters and nieces stood still for a quick photo at our annual Kivett family reunion just a week and 2 days before September 11, 2001.

Just 3 days before on September 9, 2001, our oldest pumpkin turned 12. They all attended a private Christian school and wore mom-loved school uniforms.

All the students wrote letters to President Bush in their classes.

His darling twin sisters were ten.

They donated teddy bears with a pink heart attached with their own handwritten note to give to children who had lost someone on that dreadful day.

How could I know that ten years later…

That our now 12-year old precocious 7th grader would be our most challenging 12 year-old we have yet to raise but we are hoping it will come full circle when she takes care of us in the nursing home.

She always has to test out the college sister’s bunk beds when we visit.

How could I know that ten years later…

Our then 12 year-old pumpkin would become a 22 year-old man-child semi-adult…

Who would still let me take a picture of him with his new book bag in his senior year at college at Georgia State?

How could I know that ten years later…

Those darling twins would choose to serve our country.

No one could have told me my teeny tiny baby daughters would become Soldiers.

But this is our new “normal” and in between the dirty pig rooms and me being a “mean mom” and PhilBillPaul being a “nice dad”, I go to bed every single night and count my blessings.

We spent the weekend doing “normal” things and tried to explain to Scary Baby that this is what we all do to prove they didn’t take our “normal” away.

While Elizabeth was at a Military Ball for her unit…

Side note: Fellow married Soldier in her unit, not a date. Only picture I could get from her.

We went up to the North Georgia mountains and met Rachel and friends for lunch.

Jordan and Jenna loved the pancakes.

We admired the girls’ view out their dorm room window.

Someday we know they will appreciate it as much as we do.

The view makes up for (at least a little) the spartan dorm rooms that they live in as cadets.

The cadet military dorms are a far cry from the typical college student who gets to buy new comforters, build lofts, hang wall art and decorate their new home away from home with brightly colored lamps and fun desk accessories.

The choices they have made will serve them well long after they have to sleep on a scratchy green army blanket.

We are proud parents and we need to sing their praises directly to them more than we do.

We spent a beautiful afternoon watching a not so beautiful sport.

Circus baby is the one with the ball as they played Georgia Tech.

We explained to Scary Baby that we would continue to gather and laugh and love and keep on living in our wonderful country. That we would celebrate our freedom and thank those who continue to fight for it every day.

We promised we would never forget.

We haven’t.

I’m never too busy to stop and watch one more poignant short video and hope you aren’t either.

It seems like such a small gesture to sit in a quiet place and reflect.

If you need anymore good reading to help you remember the richness of our lives that we sometimes take for granted, please take the time to read an excerpt from a book worth buying called The Legacy Letters by

I believe that part of remembering and honoring people is to take some time to feel the pain of what others have lost…

Questions for a father lost on 9/11 from Motherlode, a NY Times blog.

I know it makes me more grateful.

Thanks for reading to the end and helping me remember.

Did you and your family do anything special to honor the heroes of 9/11 over the weekend?


One year ago..

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  1. 1
    Ann says:

    Thank you, Sherra, for the beautiful post. XO

  2. 2
    ed says:

    Very nice Sherra. We enjoyed our time with you and our daughter(s)

  3. 3
    Lizzie says:

    I really thought this was a lovely post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.


  4. 4
    ~julie says:

    I had a dear lady tell me recently, “Normal is highly underrated.”

  5. 5


    Thank you so much for your post. I was clearing out my e-mails & was fortunate enough to read this. I read the excerpt of the book you mentioned. I was so blessed to read the tribute to Jimmy Straine. While I didn’t know him, I knew his story as his dad, Jim Straine, a remarkable man and and treasury executive at Prudential, was a client of mine. Jim had recently retired before September 11th occurred.