taking the present at face value.

i heard the ticking of the clock for the umpth time, from the corner of my ear.  a number of minutes have passed, too many to count and yet i remained motionless on the sofa, staring at my half-empty suitcase. my flight back to the US is in about twelve hours but for the first time since i started traveling for work, i never felt so unwilling to go.

less than 12 hours ago, i left Grape in Baguio and will not see her again until i am back from my business trip in three weeks.  this is not the first time i will not see her for extended periods so the feeling is quite something i do not understand. perhaps, it felt heavier now because my daughter has started to learn how to talk and communicate with me. she knows which days of the week i would show up and spend a few days with her (e.g. weekends). she also knows the night before the morning that she will find me gone.  she looks for me when i am not there but only with an inquiring tone- i am the presence in her life that disappears and reappears somehow. and in my daughter’s one and a half year old mindset, that did not sort of require an explanation, only a confirmation.

i laud my mother for making her get used to this set up. i wish i could say the same for my own. i thought that the longer i do this, the easier it is to get used to it. but i really feel like i am missing a lot of her growing up and sometimes, times like this, i felt short-changed.

and yet, this was a choice i chose to make and i was well aware of the consequences. but doing the right thing and feeling good about it does not normally go hand in hand.

i will snap out of this, i am sure. just as i am sure that Grape went back to her normal activity, unaffected, after she said she misses and loves me over the phone. three weeks is nothing compared to the number of years OFW mothers have to endure before they see their kids again.

and with that though, i will drag myself off this couch and pack.


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