Tomorrow is September 10. To most of you this will just be another day on the calendar and it is the following day which will have some kind of story behind it for you and your family. For me, it was September 10 which changed the world.
Ten years ago on September 10, Lleyton Hewitt won the US Open. He fought long and hard and the entire nation tuned it to watch. At almost 4p.m he pumped his fist in the air in true Hewitt style and announced to the world that he was the number 1 player in tennis at the time.
Most of you probably don't remember that.
I do. Because less than 5 minutes later, I welcomed my first child into the world. Kaitlin Louise Moore was born at 4p.m on September 10th, 2001 at the Cairns Base Hospital. The day that changed my world.
Any parent will tell you that the first child is the life-changing one. At the time however, I was more worried about her feeding patterns, what made her cry so loud, what colour her eyes would be and whether her toes were perfect.
After spending the night in awe of my child, I spent the entire next day surrounded by family and friends. All wanting to hold my little girl and tell her every one of the amazing things the world had to offer her. After a full day of special moments, the visitors left and I was alone with the tiniest person I had ever seen. She was mine, and I was responsible for her future.
A daunting task but one which I felt ready for and excited about. The Christmas morning rituals, skinned knees, funny moments, the pride in her achievements, the shared pain of her failures, the friendships, relationships, career choices and the start of her own family all featured in my thoughts at the time. That night I slept well (as well as you can with a newborn anyway), safe in the knowledge that all was right in the world.
The next morning it took a while to notice the change around us. There were three of us in that room, all with tiny little people to take care of. And by 9a.m we were wondering where all of the people were. What happened to the influx of family and friends that came the day before? Did we only get one day of fawning and adoration before everyone grew bored?
One of the nurses came into the room and spoke to us all. "How are you feeling today? Isn't it awful what happened?"........Then she noticed our blank expressions. " Oh my God", she said, "You don't know, do you! Stuff the rules, today you all get free t.v.!"
And then she turned it on.
Three mums with three brand new babies in our arms, all looking at the television as it spewed out pictures of violence and hate. Image after image of chaotic scenes, death and fear.
With hearts in throats we all looked down into the unseeing eyes of our charges. I wondered what kind of world she would grow up in, how many freedoms she had lost that day. I was suddenly sad to think of her future. A future that had irrevocably altered through no fault of her own. Those moments were some of the most heartbreaking of my life.
Tomorrow is September 10. Ten years exactly since my world changed. In those ten years some of my fears have been realised. Most however, have not.
My daughter is free. She has friends, a loving family, excitement in her life and a strong sense of hope for her future. She has a brilliant mind which she uses well and the world is laid out before her to explore and conquer.
She has changed my world in the best possible way. So much so, I took the plunge and had two more tiny, fearless beings.
Sometimes it pays to spend more time remembering the changes made in our lives which we controlled, which we engineered and those which we have relished.
There is nothing I can do to stop another 9/11. There is nothing I can do to change the minds of those who choose to create fear (including politicians) for some skewed ideal or goal. What I can do is affect change in my children's lives. Encourage them to be fearless. Ensure they have a greater capacity for tolerance and empathy than the generations before me. Give them the skills to cope in adverse situations and the sense of self that will keep them walking tall.
Happy birthday to my beautiful, bright little girl. Thanks to you, I will always remember September 10, and the memories are good.