I leave in ten days. As September 19th becomes ever closer I hear the same thing as it echoes over and over again in my thoughts.
I told them not to call me Mami.
How I will ever be able to leave them is a question I’ve been ignoring for months, but.. it’s becoming rather impossible to ignore. Especially when the girls ask me how much time is left. Poquito, is the truth. Only a little.
I’m currently being shadowed by one of the older girls who will take over my responsibilities when I leave, and as much as I know having her learn from me is good for the sake of the girls, it’s making leaving a whole lot harder for me. Because it makes it real. Yes, I am really going to leave you Little Ones. It’s hard not to feel guilty about that. My three little daughters are here for various reasons, but a common thread between them is that their real Moms chose other people over them. A son, a boyfriend, a husband. Somedays I feel like I am following suit, choosing myself and my crazy dreams over giving these beautiful baby girls a stable Mama who will stick with them.
I know my leaving is a sensitive subject, but I’ve been trying to talk to the girls about it so that they’re not left in shock when they don’t wake up to my hoarse morning-voice singing to them anymore. I asked Yessenia how she felt about it the other day, and in her tiny little pouty voice all she would say to me was “bad.” Me too, Sunshine. Believe me.
“Mami.” Something that is looming over me, something that seems trivial but feels entirely opposite in every way, is the reality that soon my girls will be using that sacred and beautiful name for someone else, and not for me. Oh, do I even have a right to struggle with that? I’m the one who’s leaving! And I’m not even their real true Mami. But it hurts, oh it hurts. I’m so jealous. I’m sad because I won’t be here to sing to them at bedtime, or cradle them in my arms to pray over them as they sleep, and I don’t think anyone else will do that when I’m gone. And I don’t know who will read the picture book “Me llamo Yoon” to Maria three times in a row every day, or who will help Yessenia learn how to write the lowercase “r”, or who will watch the stars with Mina when she can’t sleep.
What I keep coming back to is that God asked me to be here for these five months, and not more. He knew of the grief that would grow in my heart and in theirs when this time came, but He asked me to be here anyway. I know it’s not supposed to be good for kids to put them through this, but I have to trust that He has accomplished enough good in this time to make up for any damage they will endure because of my departure and absence. I have to believe that He can continue teaching them about Himself no matter who tucks them in at night, that He will bless them and protect them even if there are no prayers spoken over their sleeping selves. I have to accept that they have been His from the beginning, that He entrusted them to me for only a time, and that now it’s time to give them back.
“I sat there, weeping, crying, those beautiful eyes full of desire and love. And He said to me, You shall love Me.. You shall love Me.. With arms wide open, heart exposed. With arms wide open, bleeding, sometimes bleeding, You shall love Me.. You shall love Me…”