“MAMA, GOO HOOOOMEEE!”
Tears streamed down my cheeks as our firstborn toddler, Sarah-Faith, bawled, pouring out her heart’s longing to return to our little cozy shire in the woods in Canada.
A 24-hour almost-sleepless plane journey home later, here we were living temporarily in an apartment belonging to another family, our gratitude for their generosity painfully eroded by an overwhelming sense of homesickness.
Individual jet-lag becomes a tall order to overcome when two little human beings’ jet-lags become your responsibility, your eyes filled with tears when your two-year old hugs you at midnight, crying, unable to express her bewilderment and shock at not being able to “Go Home.”
“We’re in Singapore now, sweetheart. I know it’s a smaller place. We have to look for our new home.”
“NOOOO! Go BIG Home!”
Hardly three days had passed when I watched you grow in years. Your confidence to sleep alone in an adult bed for the first time (and in a foreign place!), your resilience in overcoming jetlag, your determination in finding joy in new things and places, even when we all knew this was a major change for us all. Even more so for you, our toddler who loves her routine circumscribed on her terms.
At the end of a long day of viewing homes, as we asked God where our home for the next 20 months might be, I found a little rundown coffee shop stashed in a corner, a sight I had not seen in years since we were away.
In the humidity and heat of the late afternoon, in the grime and hustle of the heartland, amidst loud chatter of elderly men drinking and people slurping hot noodle soup, we found a spot to sit down to unwind, if only for a moment, “This is one of Mama’s favorite things to do, Sarah-Faith. This is a hawker center. This is Teh-C (tea with evaporated milk). And THIS is Kaya Toast.”
As your eyes lit up, that characteristic courage I know so well of you took over, and you held it in your little hands, like a tiny bunny, ready to try yet another new and foreign thing.
You wiped it all up, saved a little morsel to tuck away in your little Tupperware and said with a grin, “EAT LATERRR.”
A smile that lit up the world for me, even as part of our hearts, left behind in another part of the world, ached.
A smile that promised me we would find new adventures here and beyond; That change represented pain, but also growth; that this would be the first of many changes we would go through but they would all make us stronger; that someday I would face answering hard questions you’d ask me about the lives we lived, straddled between two, three, four countries… but for now, it would be simpler.
“KAAAA-YAAHH toast,” you said, licking your lips.
Papa and I had left as two and now, returned as four.
Welcome to Singapore and Mama’s new world, Braveheart.
Till our next home,