One morning, about two weeks after September 11, 2001, my mom did something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. My sister and I were eating cereal at the kitchen counter before school, and like every morning, my mom had The Today Show on the tiny kitchen TV. That TV was almost always on when she was in the kitchen, the hum of All My Children in the background while she made lunch, Oprah while she prepared dinner, Jeopardy or Seinfeld right before we sat down to eat. No one, including her, was ever really watching it. Those weeks after 9/11 were the exception, though. We couldn’t peel our eyes away from the TV, despite the fact that we had already seen the same footage over and over and over again.
Finally, one morning, when the plane flew into the tower for the thousandth time, my mom marched over to the TV and said, “Enough.” She switched the channel to PBS, sat down at the counter with my sister and me, and we watched Sesame Street until it was time for school. That became the new tradition. Despite the fact that I was a sophomore in high school, I looked forward to watching Sesame Street every morning with her. It made my world feel calmer, safer.