There's no image for today's chat.
It was such a private moment between us no image would capture just how it felt.
It happened a few days ago and it's only now I feel I can share it.
I want to share it because sometimes I think you might be left with the impression we don't get along.
We do get along - most of the time but it's when we don't that I come her to chat, and vent with you as if you were sitting opposite me and we were chatting in real time.
We were in the car, just the two of us on the way to school.
She asked me, out of the blue, what happened in the Philippine's and why does it look like Tohoku (the area devastated by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan)
(I explained to the best of my ability about the super hurricane)
So, earthquakes, tsunami and now super hurricanes kill people and wreck their lives she said.
Yes. I replied.
(For once I didn't offer more information that she was asking)
Mum, have I been in a hurricane?
(quite liking these closed questions. I could have told her she'd been in a few typhoons in Yokohama but that wouldn't serve anyone)
Mum, does Ireland get any of this bad weather? I DO NOT want to go thru anything like the quake again.
No, honey it doesn't. (then I dared to ask) Do you often think about the earthquake? (It's a closed question so maybe it would be a short answer)
Not really. But I remember being under the desks at school like we were taught in the drills, and then seeing daddy in the playground. We couldn't drive the car into the car park cos the pool at the gym leaked thru the building. I slept with daddy that night.
Mmmmm, you were safe with him.
Mama, do you want to know the one good thing about the quake?
You weren't there.
(I was in Sydney at a family function)
I didnt' say anything - mainly because I didn't know what to say.
I'm glad you weren't there because it was really scary and daddy did a great job at keeping me calm. He'd have to have kept BOTH of us calm and that wouldn't be fair cos I think he was scared. He knew you were safe, and only had to worry about me.
Fighting back the tears I said, gosh MissM, I didn't know you felt that way. I'd have done anything to be with you and Daddy and our friends that day. I was so worried about you all and just wanted to fly home to be with you.
No. You not being there was a really good thing.
Why I asked again .... (brave eh? I had no idea where this was going but she obviously wanted to talk)
Because it means you don't really know what it was like. I love you and you were safe.
Thank goodness (or not) we arrived at school and the conversation came to a natural stop.
I've spent the last few years feeling guilty for not being there for the quake. For not being the one at the school gate that afternoon, for not being the one she could snuggle into in bed, not being there to help friends, not packing bags and catching the shinkansen to Osaka and being with her (and the 367 other company expats work was evacuating) in the hotel while G worked.
And all the while, my little girl was happy I wasn't there, cos I was safe.
I'm so proud of my little 'big' girl, not just because of this, but because of the person she is.
She's a lovely human being.