Editor's Note: This post was originally shared in 2012. - Feminista Jones
In 1992, I went on a "blind date" with my department manager's son. She was against it but her daughter insisted. Boyd was unlike any man I had ever known. He was a bit wild. Slightly flamboyant and 100% sweet. I remember my sisters commenting on how tight his jeans were and how tight his black shirt was. I liked it.
He had this amazing muscular build and it was very sexy. I was a bit of an elitist and had recently moved to town from NYC. My plan was not to fall for this guy, but rather to have fun and test him a bit. Our first date was after a LONG Labor Day weekend of partying, Friday, September 11, 1992.
Boyd ended the date by kissing me on the cheek. That simple act pretty much sealed the deal for him. On the one year anniversary of our first date, Saturday, September 11, 1993, Boyd and I got married. I was almost 30 years old. Boyd had just turned 29.
Eight years later, in June of 2001, we were blessed with our first born, Grace Katherine Stockham.
As I laid in my bed, at 6:40 am, with my newborn sleeping next to me, on my 8th wedding anniversary, my phone rang. My sister asked me if I had seen "The Towers". I was groggy and a bit confused. "What towers"? Shani said, "Dani, aren't you watching the TODAY show"? I listened to her as I turned on the TV. I can remember the feeling of my stomach dropping. My mouth gaped open. I picked my sleeping Grace up and held her as I cried.
In 1991, I had moved to CA. I moved from my apartment in NYC. My apartment directly across the street from the Twin Towers. The Twin Towers that I walked into every day to get my croissant and my coffee, (sweet and light), as I made my way to the subway. What was I seeing? What was happening?
Image: Harold Navarro via Flickr
I called my sisters. I called my Dad. I called my husband and my mother-in-law. I watched all the coverage and still could not comprehend the horror. At some point during that day, I realized that it was still my anniversary. Boyd and I had dinner reservations at an elegant restaurant. My mother-in-law was going to babysit Grace.
As we went to our dinner, we felt shell shocked. We felt like we were being discourteous. But we still felt compelled to go. The entire wait-staff was crying. Boyd and I knew that what was once our magical 9-1-1, was about to become the world's 9-11. It was bittersweet.
Yesterday, as I picked my girls up from school, my Grace asked me why Daddy and I chose to get married on such a "bad" day. I reminded her that we had been married 8 years when 9-11 happened. She asked me if I was mad that such a bad thing happened on my anniversary. I told her I was more sad. That day, for me, had symbolized love. Now I had to acknowledge that it symbolizes something bigger than that for most everyone else in the entire world. Something tragic. Something that gets remembered but not celebrated.
Well, today, I celebrate 19 years of marriage and 20 years of love, with my husband. We have been through our own personal and familial tragedies in the 20 years we have been together. Deaths, miscarriages, divorce, illness, accidents, estrangements...but we are together.
We are in love. We are building a life that is a symbol of that love and commitment. I will celebrate my anniversary with my husband and my two beautiful daughters. We will toast to 20 more years. We will toast to love. We will also toast to the World Trade Center Twin Towers. We will salute the lives that were tragically cut short. We will toast to the memorial that is being built to honor what was lost on that day 11 years ago.
I know I will forever share my anniversary with so many who wish it was not "their" anniversary. I will honor that irony by keeping my vows and continuing to build on the love I pledged to Boyd Lee Stockham all those years ago.
Happy Anniversary baby. I've got you on my mind and I love you more today... than ever.