In a little over eight weeks, world news will have reports looking back to last year and the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. I will be unable to look at any of it, but I will probably post something on Facebook. I will be thanking them for being the only link I had to my daughter who was flying home from her tour in Korea and whose flight had been caught on the tarmac at Narita Airport, when the quake struck.
I am reminded of all of this because I was investigating a new feature Facebook has called “Timeline”, when I happened on the following posts:
Dinner with the Birthday girl, Halima. After a hard rain earlier this evening, the moon and stars are out…hoping the skies are clear for Megan’s flight home~March 10, 2011 11:47pm
On March 11, 2o11, at 4:00 a.m., I got up to use the bathroom…probably the result of too many adult beverages at dinner with my friend, Halima, the evening before. I charge my cell phone in the bathroom outlet, probably not the best place for it, but if I set the alarm, I can hear it and the phone’s LED light doesn’t bother my husband, the insomniac. I check messages and there are none, but there is a post on Facebook from Megan. I did not find her actual post to me on Timeline, but I do remember this much…Mom, I have no phone or email service, we are on the runway unable to take off, they are saying something about going back to the gate…I don’t recall if she said anything more, like I will call you or contact you when I know…she may have. It was 4:00 a.m. and I was half asleep.
Her dad and I had planned to go pick her up at Norfolk Airport, take her to dinner and then he would leave me there at her apartment, to spend the week she had on leave. We planned to do nothing special, pedicures, spa treatment, shop, cook, eat and catch up. She had been gone for six months, the second Christmas in a row overseas, and I had her holiday presents with me, not just from her dad and I, but her grandparents, too. I remember thinking I may have to just drive up solo, as my husband had a judo tournament to attend that next day. I don’t know to this day, why I did not go back to bed. I fed Papi, put him outside, then went into our home office and turned the computer on. As I logged on to the internet, Huffington Post, which was my homepage at the time, showed in what I remember looked like gazillion size font “8.9 Earthquake Hits Japan, 30 foot Tsunami Triggered”.
I didn’t wake up her dad. I turned on MSNBC and watched the news in silent horror for the next couple of hours before he got up. When I told him, he was reassuring. There had been no other communications from Megan. I had no idea where she was, if she was in the airport or on her way. I made some coffee, but I didn’t leave the computer or the TV until I received a text message from her around 6:30pm. She was in Detroit and trying to get a flight. I told my husband I was leaving, and got into my car, which was already packed, and headed for Virginia Beach. I had a key to her apartment, I could spend the night and be there to pick her up whenever she flew in. She was on this side of the world and she was safe.
“…is at the airport to welcome our girl home”~.March 11, 2011 10:56 pm
:…is getting cafecito and IHops version of Rosco’s in LA…Megan is catching up on well deserved zzzzzz” ~ March 12, 2011 10.32am
“It’s mimosa time!”~ March 12, 2011 12:34pm
“Made shrimp fajitas, guacamole, arroz con frijoles and Megan made the El Ninos…finally a homecoming meal for our thrill seeker…went for an after dinner walk, the weather is cool and mild…Tyson loves the walks too” ~ March, 12, 2011 07:37 pm
“Early morning breakfast with Megan before we go to Mass….cafecito from my new press coffeemaker…ummmmmm and a freshly baked bagel with sun-dried tomato cream cheese…treat!”~ March 13, 2011 8.069am
“Trainer Harlan kicked my behind today…ouch, Mija!”~March 14, 2011 8:46am
“we are headed to the gym for kick mom’s behind part two…:)”~ March 15, 2011 8:54am
Looking back on these posts, full of humor and quips on the highlights of our day do not do justice to the underlying stress that permeated us both. She kept asking me what I wanted to do, what I wanted to eat, where I wanted to go and I told her whatever she wanted to do, I wanted to do. I just wanted a good seafood salad somewhere and hit the Starbucks for a cafecito (or two) a day and I was good.
By this day, “Spa Day”, she was wound pretty tight and my responses that lacked any direction and little desire for much of anything seem to irritate her. I thought I had tools that I had learned dealing with my husband’s PTSD that could help me with what Megan was feeling, but my calm and agreeable demeanor, seemed to make things worse. So, we did a chic thing…and had a good cry, because there really were no words for her to describe to me the emotion she was feeling. She had not known how catastrophic the earthquake was until she landed in Detroit. It was indescribable, knowing just hours before you were in all that wrath of nature and loss of life. As a mom, I can say, acting like everything is fine, when a couple of days ago you didn’t know if you would see your child again, then, everything IS fine, because she is right here in front of you, is a pretty good feat if you can manage it. Somewhere in the last couple of years, I had lost my touch.
“Spa day was great and much needed…but the treat is perfectly seared scallops with mango melon salsa and homemade El Ninos…Bratmo can through down!” ~ March 16, 2011 8:11pm
We are foodies in my family. We love to eat and we love to cook. My daughter impressed me with her seared scallops and mango salsa. As I complimented her and we ate, she told me she cooked for her fellow aircrewman all the time at the base in Korea. They would go shopping, everyone would pitch-in, she would do a menu, and then she would do her magic. In that post I mean to say “throw down”, but I was not spell checking at that point. Between the emotions, the cooking and the margaritas, we had both finally relaxed enough to enjoy the food, each other and the contrast of what was going on half a world away and what was happening with us, in our world.
“Am winding down my visit here on VB, having my cafecito and remembering the anxiety of last Friday…how selfish of me considering what others are suffering at that time and now and for how long, only God knows…what I know for sure , is that faith sustains us and family is everything…amen.” March 18, 2011 9:01 pm.
Did I mentioned I love Delta Airlines, too? After sitting six hours on the tarmac at Narita airport, the pilot was able to take off between tremors and bring his crew, his passengers and a beloved daughter home.