True, this is primarily a food blog; a blog where I talk about how to live with food allergies, how to raise allergic kiddos and share favorite recipes, products and more. And as most parents I know, many of those recipes and posts center around being a mom. How do I help make sure our son feels ‘normal’ at birthday parties filled with pizza, cakes and cupcakes? How do we handle letting teachers know about his allergies and making sure he has a snack on hand for birthday parties in the classroom? How to educate other parents about what it means to have to encourage your child to make smart food choices when surrounded by glutenous yumminess.

And while my posts typically focus on food, it’s also about what inspires us. How we find strength and support in the efforts of our family, friends and community to help our kids feel happy.

So today, this post is about inspiration, but of a different kind.

Today I’m a grateful mom, an unexpected mom, who after enduring 9/11 from the eyes inside Manhattan, I continue to be thankful for the greatest gift ever given me. Motherhood.

As I do every year on this fateful anniversary, I thank God for many things. I’m thankful that the company I worked at in the WTC couldn’t get funding.  I’m thankful we all lost our jobs, leaving the 84th floor of the South Tower. 9/11/2001 was our year anniversary at our new jobs, and I’m thankful that the 10 or so of us friends and co-workers chose to celebrate our year anniversary by going back to the Trade Center that day for drinks at 2, rather than to meet for breakfast before work. I’m thankful that someone, somewhere was able to take thousands of us off the island of Manhattan by cruise ship, dropping us off somewhere outside of Hoboken, NJ. But most importantly, I’m thankful for the biggest imprint it left upon me; that hero’s really do exist, and that among the greatest tragedy I hope to ever know, I saw signs of unfathomable heroism, courage, and compassion for strangers.

I’m thankful for the hope it gave me.

Yet sometimes that hope is challenged. Of all the memories I have from September 11, 2001, it’s the image of WTC survivors running up to us as we waited for someway off Manhattan at an abandoned pier, desperate for help in getting off the island that I carry with me most. Standing side by side a man in a suit, covered in soot, ashes and blood, gripping his suitcase (which he carried with him as he ran 40+ blocks to safety). Watching the towers burn and fall, watching the fires burn from the safety of a balcony in Hoboken while I mourned the loss of those we worked alongside with who weren’t able to make it out of the towers safely… These are the memories that challenge my faith and hope at times, though I hold onto them as reminders of what inspired me most that day, and in the days and weeks afterward.

So today I share with you an incredible tribute of a true hero. What I believe to be nothing short of an angel walking among us. It was heroes like Welles, dubbed the Man in the Red Bandana, who helped many of those survivors find their way to safety. Narrated by Ed Burns, this 13 minute movie will move you to tears, and hopefully inspire you to see the good in the world, despite devastating losses.

I’m truly inspired by the sheer love and courage one young man had to help strangers survive.