Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Accidental Mom: My 9-11: How I changed my life on that day

The Accidental Mom: My 9-11: How I changed my life on that day: September 11, 2011 There are ghosts haunting the streets of NYC this weekend and although I have tried to avoid reliving the sadness, loss...

My 9-11: How I changed my life on that day

September 11, 2011

There are ghosts haunting the streets of NYC this weekend and although I have tried to avoid reliving the sadness, loss, and anger Sept 11th moved in me there are some aspects of those emotions that are the origins of my current happiness.

In 2001 I graduated from NYU with a Masters in Journalism. I was renting a room in a three bedroom out in Prospect Park, Brooklyn with some friends. On Sept 10th I was leaving Kentucky for NYC but decided to go to Pittsburgh instead for a friend' mom's funeral. I was getting ready for a funeral the morning the planes hit our hearts.

At the time I was still with Daren, an English-Israeli, who had taken me to Israel and warned me that America was not immune to terrorists. He was always going on about how safe Americans perceived their country to be and that was dangerous. The state of Israel and the Palestinians were a subject of much debate between us, with him conceding that I really had no basis for believing him since I never knew terror.

Daren had the television on that morning and yelled upstairs of our house in the South Side of Pittsburgh that a plan hit the World Trade Center. It must have been a small plane I dismissed. I came down stairs in time to see the second plane and it hit me that this deliberate. I knew people working the buildings, but I told myself it was fine the damage wool deb under control.

When the first building fell I was already to attend a funeral and I screamed as did the TV reporter. Somehow I got in the car and drove to the funeral, listening as the second one fell. When I arrived my girlfriend saw me in tears and had no idea why. She was focused on her mother laying the coffin. I grabbed another friend and told her what happened. I got a call from a girlfriend in Kentucky that there was a plane over Pittsburgh. We left the funeral home for a restaurant, but no one stayed.

Sarah and I went back to my house which was on the same side of the three rivers. We watched the horror unfold on TV and something changed in me at the same time. I was living on the edge in NY, in an apartment where I had to keep the lights on at night to scare away the roaches. I was with a man that I suspected was committing fraud among other unmentionable discrepancies. It was my mid-twenties and I had made a hobby of collecting lovers for lack of love in my relationship, or for myself.

I drove back to New York a couple of days later. I had a convertible BMW from Daren and I drove with the top down smelling the soot in the air as I approached Manhattan. I was the only one on the road; it was eerie like out of a horror movie. It was night when I arrived and Downtown NY from Jersey looked like hell really was a place on earth. The search lights shown and smoldering smoke curled endlessly in the sky.

There was a bone-shaking stillness in the air as I drove through Manhattan. There were places that looked like it had snowed with fake snow. There was fear and morning in the air for sure, but there was also something else, something that reminded me of Jerusalem. I had been there with Daren when I was the only non-Israeli passport holder to come off the place from NYC. There seemed to be monthly if not weekly terrorist attacks.

In the holy city there was a wicked and haunting feeling everywhere. Ghosts definitely roamed the stones and sands. It was the same when I went to Ground Zero. I did not help besides giving out food to highway security workers who had stopped me to search my trunk. I wore my Stetson and boots as a show of American support. It made the cops smile.

I stood not a block away from the wreckage of the World Trade Center looking at the beams that resembled crosses. Coincidentally, many of my fellow reporters showed up at the same spot. We acknowledged each other but were speechless; everyone was silent, standing there as if attending a funeral. NY is normally a loud and bustling place, but not then. Then it was so quiet except for the sound of the workers and searches.

In DUMBO where I use to live before the roach room rental there was a bar called the Bar Between the Bridges. Here all the welders and workers from the bridges use to hang out after work, and then there was me. I spent the next few days interviewing them and recording their stories from Ground Zero. Welders from all over America had come to dismantle the wreckage so there were a lot of people to talk to. Normally, this bunch of people reveled in telling stories, but not this time. It was like they had come back from war. Many of them described bodies and debris that hit a chord inside them that had taken the eagerness out of their rants.

There were people that my friends knew had perished or were unreachable at the time. Fortunately, the people I knew in the towers had escaped or had not made it to work yet.

I came back to Pittsburgh after that and never listened to the tapes again. I still haven't. After so much pain I had to block it out, however, something broke down inside me that day and the world turned beneath my feet. I wanted my family; I wanted a family of my own in a safe place where we weren't targets for death. It was a humbling feeling and I wanted humble things, not the dreams NY breeds, but the ones that seem so far above my capabilities. The life my friends had in Kentucky, married with kids, a car, a boat, a yard.

Obtaining this dream did not come easy. It took me two more years to leave Daren and I am still fighting the fraud accounts because unbeknown to me he had involved my name. I drank a lot talking to the stars. I daydreamed about having a loving husband and being faithful to him, simple things.

Looking back I felt I wasn't fit to be a mom, I couldn't sacrifice enough of myself for them. I had no idea how to be a wife and a mom. I didn't feel strong enough to be the kind of woman I had seen so many of my friends become.
My first step was to make the decision to only date men I would marry. Getting knocked up was not a part of my plan, but I have always been lousy with life-planning.

I find it curious that I am back in NY, ten years later covering Fashion Week while I am pregnant with my THIRD baby. A lot really has changed. I don't have a yard yet, but I do have an amazing husband who loves me and calls me "mermaid" because he use to find me sleeping in the bathtub after I drank too much wine.

Tears have been coming very easy lately because I am reminded in odd moments of the people who perished and the terror that filled our lives, especially the people of New York who ran for their lives. It could be my hormones, but I know that there is a part of me that is shared with all Americans who cried that day.

Today my heart is with the families who have lost part of their heart in the fall of the World Trade Center and the battles that followed. It changed everyone's life and for me it gave birth to a need to love. Becoming mommy heals your soul when you feel it been broken.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Fashion Story in Honor of this Friday's Event

September 8, 2011

In honor of this Friday's fashion event that will benefit Partners for Quality I give you a fashion story by me :)

Last September, I had so much at the Pittsburgh Fashion Story charity function held at J Verno Studios in the South Side that I filled my nursing anatomy with vodka infused leche the night before my flight to NYC to cover Fashion Week.

The process of draining the contaminated mother's milk drained my brain along with it because I subsequently forgot my garment bag filled with carefully coordinated outfits for each day. Instead, I had a suitcase full of great shoes, my son’s best outfits, and mama-jamas. I had decided to be an adventurous mama and bring my three-month-old son Luca along with my sister Kathleen for nanny support. Word for the wise, never do this.

Never decide to have your first drink in over a year the night before a huge business trip that requires you to look your best and skinniest along with dynamic versatility. Never think that your rock-star metabolism will magically allow you stay up late and get up early after being reunited with your old friend vodka. I am probably sounding a little like Chelsea Handler now so I better stop here.

After losing Luca's favourite binky because I wedged it somewhere in my bra for lack of a pocket, my sister and I endured a gruelling, tearful plane ride and taxi ride to the chic Empire Hotel where most of the guests were wearing nothing less than six-inch heels. I think I was still wearing mama-jamas and slippers when I arrived. When they told us our room wasn't ready yet I told them the alternative was enduring the headache octaves my son could reach. We learned quickly that he didn't like city noises or fist pumping reception area music. We were given a room immediately.

Luca did however love the whistling tunes of "Brother Bones" a 1930's African American that whistled entire songs while knocking bones together. My sister spent most of the time playing with the baby and learning to whistle entire ballads. I made the mistake of taking the baby for long walks in Soho to go shopping. My subway radar was way off and ended up sort of lost looking for couture baby clothes.

My sister had decided that after an embarrassing walk to Central Park with my son, Luciano Pavarotti, she was quite content whistling in the confines of our hotel room. When my son was born his screech was so deafening everyone including the delivery doctor gave each other that "Holy Crap" look. Yeah, he is Mariah Carey, dog deafening loud. He can hit notes that are reserved for jet engines. Having him come screaming out of me like that can only be a testimony as to how bad it must have been trapped in my body. Lol, I should know what that feels like.

Last year the weather was pretty awesome and sometimes Kathleen would meet me outside the tents so I could breast feed for all the style mavens to see. I admit Luca was the best accessory.

This year I am pregnant again and covering the fashion circus in New York City so I cannot make the event in Pittsburgh. However, I encourage you all to attend. The best part of the event is not even the fashion it’s that the proceeds and donations go to children who need it. The money raised help families struggling with disabled children during rough patches in their budgets. It is not welfare, but a one-time emergency fund to keep kids in their homes with proper care.

For more information on Partners for Quality go to, email Mary at
Donations information is on their website. For tickets to the event go to .