My daughter is here with me during this COVID-19 crisis, and I could not be more grateful.
Regular readers of the blog may remember that my daughter started a study abroad program in Japan this past September (2019). The plan was for her to do a year-long program, but decided that it would be better for her to take the semester option. So after the winter break, she didn’t return to Japan.
Welp, a lot has happened since my last non-book update, hasn’t it? For one thing, the world has changed irrevocably and, as they say, turned completely upside down, but I’ll get to that. Here’s a brief update on what’s happened since that last post:
Whew, there is a lot to cover from the past two weeks, so let’s just dive in.
1. First of all, my brilliant daughter got accepted to not one, but two study abroad programs: one for the summer and one for next school year. The summer one is at a Buddhist monastery in China and completely funded through scholarships. The second is at a university in Japan, so she has started a GoFundMe to help cover the costs. Please click over, read her story, donate if you’re so moved, and/or share her page with others. Everything helps!
My daughter is also posting all of her pre-study abroad prep on Instagram and plans to keep it up while she’s abroad, so if you’re interested in that, please follow her there (@starless_knight39) as well. At some point, she’s going to start a vlog about all her adventures as well. I mean, the girl is on the move and living all of her dreams. I’m so proud of her.
Once, when my daughter was four, I participated in a six-week program at my undergraduate institution. It involved staying on campus overnight because not only did we participate in special classes but also field trips. I called my daughter every single day and visited her on the weekends. She was also staying with her paternal grandparents who she loved and trusted.
One day, after the program was over, I was dropping her off at daycare, and she asked me where I was going. When I said “School,” she burst into tears and begged me not to leave her.
I couldn’t understand why she was so upset. I mean, I took her to daycare every day. I went to school twice a week. But then I remembered that the last time I went to school was during that program. So for my daughter, school no longer meant something I did for a couple of hours before picking her up at the end of the day–school now meant I was leaving her and she didn’t know how long I would be gone or when I would be back.
As I think about the children being separated from their families at the US border, I feel sick. I am talking seriously, physically ill. When I contacted my reps, the whole time I felt like I was going to vomit. And since then, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about my daughter who was traumatized by my leaving her when she knew exactly where I was, knew when I would be back, was with people who she knew and loved, talked to me every day, and was safe and well taken care of.
Today is Mother’s Day, and I’ll spend it running an errand with (and for) my daughter. This is not a bad thing. She got a job (🙌🏾) and needs to get her uniform before she starts tomorrow. But this is the crux of why (and I can say this without bitterness) I treat Mother’s Day like any other day. As a single mother, it’s just another day for me where things need to get done, errands need to get run, and my daughter needs care.
So, my daughter is here for her summer break, which is yay. As previously mentioned, I did have to do some things to make my apartment suitable for two instead of one. So one of those things was buying her a bed.
Me: Do you want me to get the bed before you get here or do you want to wait?
Her: You can get it. I trust you. Just remember that I like a soft bed and not those doors you like to sleep on.
So, I get the mattress. Here’s what happened after her first night here.
Today, I found myself thinking about the random things I share with my students and what prompts the sharing. We’re on week five of the semester, so getting to know each other better. The attendance rate in two of my classes is horrible (seriously, so bad), but that means there are a handful of students who show up consistently and so we have the intimacy of a smaller class even if the roster is pretty full.
It was raining today, so I told my first class all about my one sock that kept falling down and that rain kept getting in my (ankle-high) boots.
Oh! So, one student recorded my lecture from Tuesday, which I didn’t know. (His accommodation allows him to, but I told him to still let me know in the future because [a] it’s creepy that I didn’t know and [b] I need to know if I’m being filmed so I can make sure I don’t say anything that could get me in trouble.) We had this exchange as a result.
My daughter is nineteen today and because we’re living in the future, and she’s on the other side of the country, I FaceTimed with her to wish her a happy birthday and watch her open her gift. I got us tickets to see Hamilton, and she (a) guessed that’s what the gift was and (b) had a lukewarm reaction.