It is at bedtime that we sweetly talk over the days happenings . . . . and our lives happenings. Bedtime is when she reminds me that “I miss China” in her brave voice. She tells me she is a little sad but she doesn’t need to cry. And I remind her that it is okay to cry . . . . that in America we cry when we are sad.
Tonight I tell her how crying lets the sadness out and the madness too. That when we try hard not to cry sometimes the sadness gets too big inside of us. And what I don’t tell her is the sadness that grows inside of me each time I hear how much she misses China, her friends, her food, her culture. Baby girl you gave up everything to be my child. And oh how I hope I was worth it.
It is in these moments that we both blindly hold on to faith.
Five months home and these days it is all about China and America. Being Chinese-American. That is what we are processing daily, moment by moment. How China is amazing and America is . . . . okay, I guess. How Chinese people are beautiful and American people are . . . okay, I guess. You are stuck at that stage of acculturation that involves disliking your host culture, and idolizing your home culture. But now your host culture has become your home. This is home now. And that kind of tears you apart, bit by bit. And I watch, a spectator to this soul-tearing. Believing with all of my hear that is must be worth it. That the path that brought you “home” to us will also bring you ” home” in all the other ways you need.
You are a happy child. You almost refuse to be sad. You have learned to swim . . . .like a fish. And you are so proud. You ride your bicycle bravely now . . but you wish so badly your Chinese friends could see you do it. You have learned so much English, but still not enough to feel safe, to feel comfortable in this big American world.
Yes, China was easy, you tell me. America is hard.
But in your night dreams you travel there, back to the world where your tongue’s language is understood by everyone and where everything makes sense. You play with your friends and experience the stability and comfort of an old routine.
And so, as I pray over you each night, now I pray that you will travel to China in your dreams. And that you will have the courage to keep bravely traveling into your new American life when you wake.
At five months, this journey is not easy. But I trust it is good.