First Date

tim98

Dear Ezra and Lian,

I first visited India in June 1999. I went to visit my good friend; your “Uncle” Steve. Steve for years would spend half the year working in Canada in his roofing business and the other half volunteering at orphanages. Someone who also occasionally volunteered there was Mommy. One evening, Steve took me out to dinner with Mommy and Grandma.

I get sick a lot while traveling. It’s my own fault. I take a lot of risks while eating. I will eat almost anything. I’m not careful: especially with regards to washing my hands constantly. I don’t know if it was the food I ate at that meal with Mommy. I don’t know if it was the ice cream the next day. I just know, I got very sick.

I got gastroenteritis within my first few days in India. I ended up in the hospital overnight. Surprisingly to me, Mommy brought me coconut water and electrolytes to help me recover. I had just met her a day or two before. Yet here she was keeping me company in the hospital. Why didn’t she go home? She stayed by side for hours and hours.

Here’s the thing; gastroenteritis turns your belly into a balloon that feels like it is going to explode. I was so full of gas, I was in agony. There was your Mom. She stayed so long and she wouldn’t leave me alone, but she got tired. So as she sat in the chair, she rested her head on the bed and fell asleep. Meanwhile, I was writhing in agony. I couldn’t relieve the pressure because Mommy’s nose was inches away.

This kids, is the first date your Mommy and Daddy went on. This was our first time alone together. This is when we first really started to learn about each other. I was sick in the hospital and she was taking care of me. I was bemused by how hard she tried to stay there. It was charming the care she gave me. However, the honest truth is, that for most of those hours I really wished she would just leave me alone in my distress.

My bittersweet love for both Mommy, Mizoram and India began in that hospital room. It meant I would return again to India to see them all.

Love,

Dad