After the calm of thunderclaps and the steady soaking rain, flights resume. Planes pass low over the house, driven downward by the heavy fog and low-lying clouds. Each jet’s roar jolts into my tentative, tender sleep. And then, I remember I was looking at the ceiling praying for you. On my back, on my back—knowing that each passing jet does not contain you, my daughter, or even the essence of you.
Remembering what it is like to be up in the darkest hours of the morning with an infant; remembering how it was with you, my first child, during those first weeks home with me. There was a time when I wanted to put you back inside me for a while more; I didn’t feel prepared for all of the responsibility.
Now, at 3:25 am, you are half way around the world, navigating your way from one Tokyo airport to another, all by yourself and under the stress of having a delayed flight. Since I left you at the airport early yesterday morning, I have wanted to put you back inside of me or at least bring you back home, so I could watch over and protect you once again (as illusory as this protection might be).
I remember now that I left the sunroof open on my Honda Civic. So much to remember, so much to forget. The chaos of the airport scene. The pain of saying goodbye. I cannot unpack those feelings for examination quite yet; I can only cling to the tissue left on your bed, still damp with tears when I returned from the airport yesterday, like a love note left on your pillow.
This time of your traveling has been like a reverse birth process, nearly as uncomfortable and difficult. From this dark morning, I can only pray and breathe deeply, as I wait so anxiously for a call saying that you’ve arrived with your host family. And now, I sit here in the chair where I once rocked you, praying for your safety as I’ve done since the very first night we spent at home together, almost 17 years ago.
And now, I am going down on my knees.