There she was, again! The same hijab and stroller, but most recognizably the immediacy of those smiling eyes, and the ebullient voice from behind the cloth.
“You came back!” I exclaimed.
“Yes, I came back!”
The last time I’d seen her I wished her well in my heart, appreciating her audacity but not optimistic about her hopes. I see far, far more people who tell me of their plans than who return intact to tell me their success stories. I was worried for how badly it might have gone, and considered not bringing it up at all. She had traveled across the country to recover a daughter she wasn’t sure she could find, who might not even want to see her, with hostile family members and officials thrown into the mix for good measure. Just the thought of how awfully it could go would be enough to make me consider not even trying at all. What had those eyes seen?
I had to ask.
“How was Minnesota?”
“I had a great time. The hotel was nice, the people are nice. But it's so hot!”
It was summertime. “Yeah it is.”
“You felt it too?”
“Yeah, a different type of heat than here, huh?”
“Yeah I don't like the heat,” she said. “But I like the people. And it's cleaner than here, yeah?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I was thinking about you, wondering... did everything work out okay?”
“Yeah, everything worked out!”
Just go for it. Just ask. In the good mood she’s in, how badly could it have gone? I cleared my throat. “Did you find your daughter?”
“Yes, I found her! We made up, now she calls me every day!”
“Wow! My friend! Congratulations!!”
“Yes I talked to the police. I could not find her so I said to the police to find my daughter. I explained my situation.”
“And they have to listen to you, you're the mother.”
“Yes they found her. It took them five days.”
“I'm so glad they helped!”
“Yeah. She opened the door and saw me and she cried.”
I made a mental note: Not to be be such a pessimist! Miracles happen more often in life than in stories, and here was yet another: a daughter receiving, and welcoming, a tremendous act of love from her mother, a woman who put it all on the line after years of hardship. Who must have felt such shuddering relief at all of this, for a change, working out better than anyone could dream of. What a sense of discovery must have coursed through her soul! What peace!
“I'm so glad she understood, she understands,” I said. That you're her mother and you love her.”
One more story with her.