Thursday, January 9, 2014
A Letter to the Grandparents of My Third Culture Kids
I remember telling you we were pregnant. We had spaghetti because that’s what you served your parents when you announced each pregnancy. I requested it, but you cooked it because I already felt sick. And so, almost before I told you, you knew.
I remember telling you we were pregnant with twins. You knew I had the ultrasound that day. I stepped into your house and said, “We have something to tell you.” The plan was to show you the videotape of the ultrasound, make you guess why our baby had two heads. But, again, you knew before I told you. You said, “Its twins, isn’t it?”
I remember you tattooing my massive stretch-marked belly with planets and stars and I remember you coming to see the high level ultrasounds and crying.
I don’t really remember telling you we were moving to Somalia. But I also don’t remember you ever saying, “Don’t go.” You had expected something like this for years, almost like you knew again, before I told you. I don’t remember telling you we were taking your grandchildren to the ends of the earth where there lots of guns and kidnappings, a place none of us could picture in our minds. But I don’t remember you saying, “Don’t go,” because you never said it.
We boxed our belongings and stored them in your basement, in your upstairs closets and empty farm buildings. We wrenched up our family and our roots. And we left.
I don’t know what that was like for you.
I can imagine. I imagine it felt like ripping and shattering. I can imagine it felt cold and black, unreal and yet too real. It seems so long ago, the actual leaving, but it also seems so near. I think because the leaving wasn’t truly that one day, it is every day since the first in January 2003.