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11It's Friday again. Not just any Friday. A big Friday. 9/11. And I sit here, in my soggy slacks, heart racing, overwhelmed, wondering how to even begin. How do I touch this day, its vast complexity, the impossible memories, the open scars?

I don't. I won't. I refuse to try.

Admittedly a cop-out, but I will stick to my schedule and update you on the Happy Headache (a.k.a. the untimely-given-this-recession-gut-renovation of our new place) Yesterday, I met my contractor at a hardware store in midtown to pick doorknobs. I was uncharacteristically decisive, honing on a simple glass doorknob that was shockingly budget-friendly. On the way out of the store, our contractor said we needed to pick hinges too. He showed me a display of various options. He said that each of our doors would have three hinges and that we needed to decide whether or not to add finials to the bottom and top of each. In a moment of un-me-like sensibility, I said that we didn't need to add decorative touches to our hinges, items people don't really notice. And he said to me that finials are little things, tiny details, but that they matter. That they affect the feel of a home even if they are not consciously studied or seen. With that, I decided our hinges would have finials. Because the little things matter even if they are often overshadowed by the bigger things.

The little things.

On a day full of big things -- the anniversary of national tragedy, Toddler's first school visit, the funeral of my beloved English teacher Mr. Johnson, I could wax poetic about American pride, and the commencement of a lifetime of education, and the solemn passing of a stellar soul. But I won't. I will savor the little things.

I will not only remember this as the eighth anniversary of 9/11. I will remember it as another simple and priceless gem on the necklace of life. I will remember drinking coffee with Husband in the morning. Collecting our babies from their cribs. Husband scouring the Internet for Halloween costumes for the girls. The pounding and poetic rain. The trademark tapestry of giggles and tears. The squeaking green boots. The pumpkin orange raincoat. The new school smiles. The sophisticated sipping from the big girl fountain. The celebratory CVS jelly beans. The vast church full of faces. The tears shed and words uttered for a delightfully dapper man who was devoted to literature and bow ties. The crumpled face of a mother who's lost her son. A beautiful best friend in sweats clutching her sleeping beauty on the eve of her thirtieth birthday. The kind cab driver named Excellent. The bottomless blue eyes of two baby girls waiting for their Mommy to hug them at the end of a long day. The phone call from Husband saying he's on his way home. The delicious creature sitting on my lap "working" on her plastic laptop as I write this. The sweet smell of her shampoo. Her little legs swinging between mine.

Because it's the little things, the tiny details, at once mundane and magical, that make up our days. And years. It's the little things - the hinges on the ever swinging doors of life, the quiet hellos and goodbyes, the mangled umbrellas strewn about city streets, the hugs and kisses and smiles and tears, that comprise life.

Life that can be gone in an instant.

Tree Is Thirty

Sudden or Slow?