The purple and gold insignia of the orchid appears as I round the corner on the boarding gangplank. It’s a symbol that would usually result in uncontainable excitement coursing through my veins.
The hostess, hands pressed together, bows to greet me.
I wai back.
A first class passenger sits talking on her phone, “Alay na?”
Words so familiar to me and instantly brings back memories of my confused students asking me the same. “What?”
There is a small spark of happiness deep within at the thought of returning to my spiritual home, but it is deadened by the home I have left behind.
She lay on her tummy when I left, the same position she had rolled onto 10 hours before when she drifted off to sleep.
It took all my strength not to wake her and squeeze her with all my life, plus that of the seven days I would be away from her.
The sparrows weren’t even awake yet, and I softly kissed her forehead, so restrained by my mother’s love to not disturb her.
Kalyra stumbled out, rubbing her eyes, squinting through the glare of the fluorescent light. We held each other. I promised to return with her list of chocolates, swimmers, a dress, skirt, shorts and shirt.
Anything to make her feel better about me leaving.
Anything to make me feel better about me leaving.
There is an empty hole within me that can only be filled by the presence of my family.
I ache for them already and I’ve only just strapped myself in for the 10 hour flight that will take me away from them.
At least Kalyra and Craig know where I am going and when I’ll return.
Baby Savannah has no idea, even though I told her all about it and reassured her that I was coming back.
To her, one day I am there and the next I am not, and the next and the next.
How long before she thinks I have abandoned her?
Her Mummy, her life force, the one she should always depend upon.
I comfort myself at least that she’s learning there are many in her life she can rely on.
At least she is learning that she can rely on herself.
At least she’ll learn that I come back.
None of these thoughts really make a different to the fact that I ache for her that I feel like the worst mother in the world.
I have to focus on where this will eventually lead.
One week away from her may lead to opportunities that have me with her always. I know that the eventual reward is worth the sacrifice.
But will she?
How will she understand it?
Will she grow up with this distrust that she can’t explain? A fear that her mother will desert her?
I almost want to shout out
“Stop the plane, I have to get off and go home to my baby!”