I love my program and I love the city I am in. However, it sucks being so far away from home all the time. I try to go back to Cornwall most weekends, but at the same time that is my chance to catch up with homework. Children don’t seem to truly understand that anything can exist outside of their world, so when I tell Tayla that I have homework to do, she doesn’t grasp that it means I can’t play with her all day.
I do talk to her on the phone often, but that is equally heartbreaking, as her begging me to turn off my computer and get on the floor to play Barbies or American Dolls. The conversations always start the same. I always ask “How was school?” or “What did you do today?" but at some point in her monologue she will say how much she misses me. I take this much harder than when Jess or my mother tell me they miss me. Maybe it’s because they can understand the time periods that I am gone; for a child everything seems so much longer.
When I do get to go home, Tayla is all over me. As much as I would like to say I am on top of my school work, when I am there, guilt takes over and I often don’t even open my laptop. She becomes my priority. If I do get a chance to look at my work it’s after she has gone to bed and it is very brief since I am so drained from a day of activity.
The majority of our relationship is formed over the phone. I get to hear of the events of her life and what she’s excited for, but I get to experience very little with her. I hear about her bad days, and explain why she needs to be nicer to mommy, but in reality there’s not much I can do to help.
Tayla has this thing she likes to do every night before bed. We make plans on where we will meet in our dreams and she takes it very seriously. She needs to know the exact place, what it looks like, and who else will be there. It’s basically an elaborate story of what each of us will be doing. Every night before I hang up the phone, we do this. After when we are saying good night, she repeats how much she misses me and I always say the same thing.
“I miss you too, but I’ll see you in our dreams.”
Photo Credit: Jessyca Coleman