‘You are leaving me?’ Kendi asked with tears in her eyes.
Tears jumped into my eyes.
A potato lodged in my throat.
A stone landed in the pit of my stomach.
A knot tied my chest in a grip-like vice.
I swallowed. Hard. I knelt on the ground and pulled her to me. I said,’ no way! Ok awei. Adhi omo mtoka mar mama, kato adwogo sani sani wadhi car seat OK?’ (I’m not leaving you. I’m going to get my car and coming right back, so that we can go in the car seat)
Martin stopped dead in his tracks, ‘Mama is coming back right now, she’s just going to get the car and then you’ll go for a ride.’
‘Dhi ir Tata Mich, mondo inyis Keyo ni wadhi for a ride. See you later sweetness’ (Go to Tata Mich and tell Keyo that we’re going for a ride).
She ran off, ‘Bye’ she yelled over her shoulder.
We had just come back from a trip the day before. We had been away from my baby for 8 days. That’s 7 days too long if I’m honest. I had missed her terribly and by the end of the period, I couldn’t even video call her anymore. It was proving more traumatic than the loving, fun time it had been, the first two days. She would end the call crying and telling Tawi, my sister, (who was her mummy-for-a-week) that she wanted to come sleep with me now. She wanted me to come get her. It became a nightmare. And I was totally done with my trip.
Being away from her gave me physical rest, but the mental and emotional burden was immense. I wouldn’t recommend it to a homebody like me.
‘Never again’, I told Martin as we went down the stairs outside our home, wiping away tears ‘I’m never leaving that baby for that long again. That was so hard.’
‘I know,’ he replied, ‘I was fighting back tears as well. That was really the saddest thing she’s ever said’
‘You are projecting your trauma on Kendi, mama’, my mother said when I told her what had happened. Trust my mother! She has no time for sob stories.