MONDAY, APRIL 4
I wake up an hour before my 6:30 alarm. I look out the window and see nothing. A jolt of panic runs through me as thoughts of malfunction plague my brain. I’ll have to find a sitter, is my first coherent thought. Then I realize that it’s not nothing, it’s just dark. Closer inspection reveals a dim mainland passing steadily by.
The Chinese proverb about the red thread comes to mind. The entire trip I have felt as though the cord that binds us—my daughter and I—has been stretched to its limit, and I am awash with anticipation at the thought of coiling it tight once again.
Stepping onto dry, still, American ground again feels like stepping out of a pool—all the weight comes back. We get in the car and I’m back to the grindstone again, writing an entirely different paper. Towards the end of the drive, I’m practically bouncing in my seat. When we turn onto my mother-in-law’s road, I’ve already unbuckled my seat belt and have my fingers on the handle. My husband tries to restrain me long enough to wait for him, but I break free and rush to the door. My baby turns to see me and breaks into a smile mirroring my own, her arms held aloft, hands jerking in excitement.