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My big guy Danny turned four today.Well, I wasn’t going to go here. I guess I’m not sure I have anything to say. Or maybe, I was just bracing for what everyone else would say. I’ve written before about the 9/11 attacks, and those words are powerful and fierce for me, because I wrote them in the hours and days after everything went to hell. So maybe I should just leave it at that.

But here’s the thing. Today is my son’s fourth birthday. And I’m not going to say I didn’t think today about 9/11, because I did; and I’m not going to say that those thoughts didn’t make me sad for the loss, and angry about what happened, and vengeful for justice, and wistful for the spirit of commraderie we as Americans had in the aftermath, and confused about where that spirit seems to have gone. I wonder about all of those things, not just today but every day.

And yet, my biggest emotions throughout the day were gratitude for my son and wonderment at his amazing, joyful self. And the fact that I had those feelings today, and could enjoy them, means that at least for me the test results from 9/11 are starting to come in, and you know what? We passed. We frigging passed. We may not have scored 100%, but listen up America — good work, well taken. We took a graduate class in Hardship and we got most of the questions right. We have some things to brush up on for the next course but by and large, we passed. 

Here’s to the fallen heroes and to the ones living among us now and every day, including you, and God willing, including me. Let’s make it all worth it. No use crying over what we got wrong, because it’s over. We passed exams and that means it’s on to the next class. If we can do this then the economy and the environment and education and everything else is a piece of cake. Bring it. 

And finally, Danny: This one’s for you.