My heart is hurting with the plight of the Rohingya people right now. If you would like to learn more and donate to their cause, click here.
The rain washes the world at night. We lie under thin sheets and listen to it on the tin roof outside our window.
“It’s really raining,” I say. The kind of thing you say without thinking, without meaning anything at all. Drawing attention to something that is happening, something that often happens, in a murmur. And then going on.
“Mom?” the kids ask, twenty times a day. Telling me little things like these… things that mean that we are here together, and they are checking on me, checking to see that I am still here. I realized, when I was away, that though my Leafy boy is often dreaming, he checks on me often. And when I wasn’t here, some pillar of security was gone. He missed me the loudest, sending me gifs and messages, and once, a video of himself telling me he missed me.
All the kids do it.
“Can I have a Wednesday market snack?”
“I played the high D on my trumpet!
“Mom? Isn’t it interesting that some people live by their extended family all their lives?” My Mom radar tells me there is something different beneath the surface of this question, couched by laughter. I miss them. I would like to try that other kind of life, the question says.
Kenya and I have our own way of checking in with each other. A mother and daughter way.
“Oh!” one of us says. “It’s you! I have a mother!” Or “Oh look, I have this person who is my daughter!” Hugs and kisses. We are a physically affectionate family, I realize, and I can always hug Kenya. She doesn’t wriggle away. I get hugs from Kai now too. Solo is squirrelly. Leafy I have to catch. With Isaac, we're led by his whims. He is either running away or all over me.
I forgot how crazy my life here is. Normally it’s good crazy. I am teaching four or five different kids, riding the motorbike to the market, fielding emails and riding a unicycle. I have somewhere to be at 2:00 or 4:00. I am meeting a friend or the landlords drop in. I am launching a book. The wall fans are broken again. The lightbulb is out. Parts of the house are so dusty that Kai cannot go near them because of his allergies. The school drawers are a mess. I need to pick up my sewing machine. The garden is calling. The roses need to be trimmed. Are the kids on task? I should really bake some bread.
And sometimes, it is a wild ride. It all depends on whether I am up for the challenge.
I pin photos of artists in their studios. I follow people on Instagram who have space and time and paint. And I endeavor to love my life with every cell.
“Mom? Do you know where my superhero mask is?”
“Do you think dorm living at UBC would be good?”
“Can I make bread today?”
“I made you dessert, with bread and bananas and icing. Here you go. You have to share with Dad because a guest just turned up.”
The rain washes the world clean. I turn to Chinua in the evening and sigh. Remember not to complain about any of it. Remember that it is the best kind of love, the best kind of problem. A home that gets beyond me. A life that is very full.
“It’s really raining out there,” I say.
He smiles. “It is.”