Like a rubber band which is about to be stretched like never before, I tested the limits: How far and how long could I bear to be away from the kids and their father, on my own, in another country?
Once, I travelled with music group re: mix 21 Sept to Johor Bahru for the Arts Fest. That’s been done before.
* Performance venue: Bukit Timbalan
Two, I travelled with my mum to Malacca 28 Sept for an all-day trip starting at 6am and ending at 10pm. (Its one of those Community Centre trips where my travel companions are elderly strangers, many of whom are regulars). I didn’t see the kids all day. But I still returned home to sleep under the same roof.
Today I venture further.
I leave for Hong Kong for four days three nights solo.
There is a legitimate reason. re: mix is performing there. I have never been away from them, overnight.
The reactions are predictable.
Day waves me on cheerfully. Go have fun, mama. We’ll be fine.
Lu, too, waves me on but her lower lip quivers a little: What if when I am turning on the TV in Por Por’s house I suddenly think of you and miss you?
Jo, whose heart seems to be meshed up with anything and everything, is dramatic and distraught. True to form, she imagines every possible scenario that can go wrong at home: What if papa doesn’t know how to drive to my school?! Who is going to make my lunchbox?! Can you make my lunchbox before you leave for the airport at 4am?! What if I can’t tie my own hair neatly?! What if there’s a big knot in my hair and nobody can comb it out?! I’m very worried!
Then she veers toward sentimentality: So this is the last time I am going to kiss you before you come back on Monday? (she asks this three times, nose red, eyes teary) But what if I miss you? Mummy I love you so much, it won’t be the same without you. Can you wake me up at 4am before you leave so I can kiss you again? Etc etc.
I tell her to think of it this way: Without me around, it’ll be a fabulous weekend of junk food and excessive spending. It'll be full-on fun and games without the preachy voice of conscience.
Still. I think she’ll be praying hard.