It took me quite a while to have the courage to look through our old pictures. Mostly from happier days and some taken on the day I left my little girls to my parents care. Funny how I can still vividly remember the day I gave birth to each of my girls. And I’ve always felt this very real – but invisible cord that tied my heart to theirs. It’s not just love but in a sense of proximity.
For seven years, as their mother I’m always aware where they are and the activities they’re doing – that I closely monitor. It’s like built-in radar in me that maintains a cord that connects us. Even at work, I can imagine one is doing her show-and-tell, another is busy with her fractions. That mental exercise I often do, picturing them in my mind, they may be out of sight, but as their mom I’m still connected to them.
Then the sudden turn in our family dynamics forced me with the only option I have – to pack our bags and ran home to my parents. The memory of that day will forever be etched in my heart, my girls’ trusting faces when I asked them to take their most cherished toy, just one – because mommy can’t bring everything. My eldest Kate simply asked where we are going, and in muddled thoughts I answered her “we’re going on an adventure”. A response that prompted my youngest Ashley to ask “what’s an adventure?” to which Kate answered her baby sister “it’s something you’ve never done before…but you do it now” [sic]. We’ve never been more connected in our lives than that precious moment, when I hugged and asked them to trust mommy.
At this time, I have to live 1576.2 miles away from my girls while they live with my parents in Philippines. As a single-working mom sometimes I don’t know where to pull strength from to keep everything balanced. Not everyone is supportive, some may question my decisions. And that made me sad, I know I have crossed some traditional values. But in my own spiritual life, I felt that all this was something that God has gone before me and arranged everything. That alone gives me hope that I could in fact still be Mommy to Kate and Ashley – and not feel like I have to give up who I was.
It really doesn’t matter what I do in the years to come, when I compare it to the person I have already grown to be, because of what I have been through and these two little girls who I am honored to care for.
Yes, I have been stretched farther than I ever thought possible; and, no matter how far they may go, my heart, my connection to them will never be severed. And, I am quite confident, that I will continue to be stretched to new limits in the future, because that precious cord of love knows no bounds.
I remember packing pictures of my girls, family albums and pictures off the wall. Everything went into a box of memories of what has been and shut it close for many months. It was difficult…and still is.