Dear Gavin and Evelyn,
I am sorry. I am so sorry that you had to ever be so close to such a life threatening, life changing tragedy. All a mother wants to do is protect her children...no matter what. From harm, from illness, from bad people, and from experiencing horrifying things. So I am sorry I could not keep you from this.
I know that it must be scary to go through something like that as a small child. And it must be even scarier to see fear in all the adults eyes too. Gavin, I tried my hardest to be brave during the earthquake, but after a couple of minutes, I was REALLY scared. And I might have let you see that fear. I tried to explain what was happening so you could learn from this, but there were moments during some of the aftershocks and subsequent EQs (as we now call them) that I literally couldn't breathe or talk. And Evelyn, I am the most sorry that I wasn't there with you. As soon as we realized that your bus was not coming I RACED as fast as I could to get you at your school. It tore my heart apart when I got there to see you crying for your mommy, surrounded by children whose parents got there quicker than I did.
The night of the EQ your daddy and I didn't leave your sides. Even with all the strong aftershocks, you two were OUR rocks. Being together was all that mattered. I knew I was okay as long as you two and your daddy were with me. We played musical-beds since no one wanted to sleep alone.
With that being said, I am so proud of how you have handled things since then. I KNOW it was scary to go back to school. I KNOW it was scary to go to sleep in the dark by yourself. I KNOW it was hard to see mommy scared too. Our 'normal' was no longer. Some friends started leaving Japan. Your teachers started leaving. Our base was scheduled for electricity black outs. The Japanese schools were canceled. You were not allowed outside to play during recess. I am so proud also that you were so excited to go back to visit PA, for 'spring break' as you know it.
Again, I thought of myself as the luckiest mom in the world. You both stepped up and were great on our 30 hour trek back to the states. We woke up, ate breakfast and boarded the bus for the airport at 8am. Luckily, you slept more than 1/2 the way!!! The line to check in was LONG and the security line was LONGER - but again, you did great. We were lucky to have a friend with us to help entertain you - but you still made it so easy! You watched movies, played DS, and watched planes take off and land while we waited to board our initial flight. Once on the plane, you ate dinner, played games and then went to sleep for over 8 hours!!! People surrounding us told me how good and well behaved you were. And how lucky I was!!! You continued your good behavior (for the most part) all the way through until Poppop Why and Kiki picked us up, and all the way until we got back to Tishymom's house at after midnight...more than 30 hours after we left our home. Even now, 4 days later, you have adapted to jet lag, you have been willing to tell your stories to people, and you want to experience fun things (like the Please Touch Museum) instead of just staying in and playing Wii.
I know that, together, we will learn from this. We will learn how important it is to care for others. We will learn, from the Japanese, that we will be respectful and supportive of each other. We will learn the importance of donating time, resources and money to charities that can help people. We will learn.
And most importantly, I want you to know I will NEVER stop trying to protect you. I want you to know that NONE of this is your fault (an assumption that adults know to be true - but that sometimes children can feel). And I want you to know that together, we can get through this. This is a link for a book about a mother's instinct to protect - especially after earthquakes!
I love you forever and always.