A typical Saturday morning in my suburban Seattle home. The oldest child drifts hazily into the kitchen, soon to enter the last of his teenage years, “What’s up,” he says, more of a greeting than a question. His face is scrubby with stubble, his frame still reaching for six feet. The middle child, new to middle school, invests himself happily in his video games and a DVD of “The Simpsons,” and I hear Homer yelling at Bart to beat Todd Flanders at some sport. The youngest child pops from place to place, bugging her brothers until they shoo her away like a pesky fly, pokes at some unopened packages sitting on the floor from her Grandma, which surely must be for her as her birthday is soon. She comes over and tells me about the giant piece of toast she had for breakfast with an egg in it and asks me if she can have my iPod when I die. After several days of clouds, the sun seems to be making a decent effort to appear today, and the green of the leaves of a thousand different kinds of plants are only just now starting to fade to their less-vibrant fall hue, matte.

Years ago, a typical morning at my home just around the corner from Observatory Park in Denver, Colorado. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny, the skies a perfect rich blue. The oldest child was awakened to get dressed for school, 4th grade that fall; his brother was already up and ready to go to preschool. The morning plan was to make some breakfast, drop off the kids, then go meet up with our real estate agent to see yet another house in the suburb next to us, difficult for us to get into because it was so expensive, but we kept trying, better school district the lure.

As breakfast was put on the small maple kitchen table, we watched the TV screen, some confusing and terrible news coming from New York. My family watched a second plane, live, slam into the World Trade Center.

At that moment, the sun was still shining, the eggs still hot on the plate, the comforting smell of the toast in the air, and somehow, time didn’t stop.

This morning, I drink my coffee. No one sits at the kitchen table to eat together. A plane flies over my house on its way to Sea-Tac. The youngest child hates the sound of them, often wakes at night crying, shaking, terrified the plane will crash into our house, or the world is coming to an end. In September 2001, she was a year away from existence.

Another plane goes over. The sun is still determined to have its way.