The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Here my mom shared with me her experience of my brother and I leaving to go to her hometown to meet our family. This was the first time she was without us, especially for so long.

As her 6-year-old son ran around in circles playing with her 2-year-old daughter making a mess all over the house, Helen merely sat on the floor of their living room watching. She did not yell, she did not punish anyone, she just sat and watched the kids she loved so much enjoy themselves. This was a different type of Sunday for the family because Helen was sending her kids off to her hometown in Ukraine with their grandma to meet their family who never made it to America. As she sat on the floor, packing away clothes to last for the 3 months of summer into two seemingly minuscule suitcases, she noticed how tiny the kid's clothes were–how tiny they were. While she didn't realize at the moment, she was beginning to have a breakdown over the thought of not seeing her precious children for three whole months.

Her mind flooded with scenarios of how empty and lifeless everyday activities would feel without her children–how empty and lifeless she would feel. It had been so long that Helen had revolved her life around her children, she couldn’t picture a day without them. For just a fraction of a second, she tried to justify not letting them go, but she quickly pushed that thought out of her head and reasoned with herself. You have to keep working. They should see where they came from. They should meet their family. They will be back before you know it. She looked up to the couch to be greeted by the smiling face of her mom who within seconds knew what her daughter was so upset about. They did not have to exchange any words: just a look was enough. Helen took a breath so deep she thought her lungs would burst, but as she exhaled the tears that had begun to fill her eyes disappeared. She knew that the choice she had made to send her children to Ukraine was a good one.

“I love you sooo much mommy!” her daughter yelled at her from behind the stanchions of TSA. She was in her favorite pink dress, smiling from ear to ear, excited for her first trip on a plane. She was holding her brother's hand on one side, and her grandma's on the other. Helen's heart was full looking at her children who were so excited to meet their family. She ran up to them and gave them one last big hug that was so tight she thought she would break them, kissed them both goodbye, and watched them prance their way to security.

A Visit Home

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