Family and Motherhood

UPROOTING

I looked around my childhood bedroom one last time. It was the morning of my return flight back to Denver, back to the life I had built 1,000 miles away from this one. I walked around the room trying to sear into my memory every inch of its strange shape. The vaulted ceilings and big windows. The area that once housed my desk. My tiny closet that still held some of my past in it, waiting for donation or to be sent to the landfill. Memories flashed into my mind: pacing my room while talking to my best friend on the landline in a language that only we seemed to understand; typing away on my computer wondering if I could actually become an author when I grew up; smoothing out the comforter on my bed while listening to my mom reciting advice from her library of life experience. This was the sp...

THE BRIDE

The Bride.   The spinning wheel came to a halt The world around her paused The moment seemed to have frozen in time And the vows were called.   The innumerable thoughts that kept her Anxious and fidgetty The unexplainable questions causing the stir The cliched butterflies And the atypical fervour Brought about their might.   Its absolutely normal, don’t fret The world advised She wasn’t afraid, she is not a novice to change It was a huge step that she was waiting to tread Yet it felt wonderfully unfamiliar To be the one, for her own one   Amidst the chaos of the wedding rituals She found the unflustered belonging Which now had to be shared Between her own kinsfolk and his   A sudden gush of longing to hug her mom To be her father’s little girl To gossip away with h...

LIFE, LOSS & RAINY TRIPS TO TARGET

About a week ago, I quietly snapped. It had been one of those days, which many of my recent days have resembled; wrong in every way at some point or another. I’m aware of it, the cloud of weighted sadness. It dissipates briefly throughout the day yet never seems to disappear. There is just so much going on in my life that my mind is struggling to keep up. The realization of this weakness makes me disappointed in myself . . . which makes the weight even heavier. This isn’t me. I know it. Unfortunately for now, that is as far as I can venture. This particular day, I’d already braved the cold weather for groceries when I later realized I still needed diapers. I’d likely forgotten them in my foggy state. Instantly angry. The tiredness from not sleeping well the night before was not helping. An...

ODE TO MY SISTERS

o be a little sister,  It is hard.  It is terrifying.  It is easy.  It is lovely.   I was born the 2nd of February 1987. Oh yes, I am an Aquarius, this air sign which funnily enough looks like a water sign… Talking about a confused and misunderstood sign I was born under. I firmly believe in star signs, yet I also believe in individuality. We cannot label a person by their star signs, skin colour, sexual orientation or even the country of their roots. Human beings are not born to be characterised by any of the above. We are individuals with our own souls, our own calling in life. This is again my humanist point of view and belief.  I believe it is every important to each and every one of us to know that we are all different, yet we are one and we ought to respect one another.   This point ...

WITH MUCH LOVE, YOUR RACIST FATHER

“Study hard, only use your credit card for emergencies, and don’t bring home a Black, Korean, & especially not a Chinese boyfriend” – Dad For the most part college is a time for self-exploration and academic experiences. But let’s be real, it’s a passing reason to be physically separated from your overbearing, but well intentioned parents. More common among 1st generation Asians, especially in my household, is intra-Asian racism. From my father’s parting remarks before I left college (stated above) to the constant reminders that “Chinese people are evil for attacking Japan” and how consuming too much kimchi will somehow “make you just as stinky and manipulative as the Koreans” became all too frequent. Aside from these debasing household events, I wasn’t exposed to many stereotype...

HOW TO BE AN AFRICAN

The last time you felt African was when he mentioned it to you. When your thick dark hair was tied with an Ankara material into a bow at the front, the same material that clung to your little feet and traced the ends of your tote bag, on the body of the bag, scribbled in slanted fonts, was ‘black is not perfect but is intricately beautiful.’ Your slender, sleek figure fit into a knee-length flared gown, with pockets at its sides that hid your long, pale hands; long, slender fingers—just like you; and naked fingernails. You walked like you’ve seen adults walk and have gotten accustomed to, long before your body turned into what it is; its curves and edges. You plastered your signature smile on your face and said, in your creamy voice “hello, good morning” to everyone on the street, the clea...

NOTES TO MY 80-YEAR-OLD SELF

Over the past few months my brother and I (and our spouses) have been dealing with the issue of getting our mother to move out of her too-big, too-costly house into an apartment in a senior village. At 86, she’s wobbly on her feet and has a tendency to repeat things, but otherwise her mind is sharp. So sharp, in fact, that things got downright nasty at times before she was able to accept our suggestions and agree to the move. That being said, and after the dust settled, it occurred to me that now would be a good time for my 57 year old self to remind my 86 year old self (if I am lucky enough to live that long) of the do’s and don’ts of dealing with adult children. First, be nice to your kids, and not just because they’ll pick your nursing home. While I can never imagine myself saying hurtf...

MY SON DOESN’T CALL ME MOM AND THAT’S OKAY

My son doesn’t call me mom anymore and I’m okay with that, although I used to not be. It all started about a year and a half ago. My husband was deployed, and we moved home for moral support. My son was two at the time and a little delayed in speech. He called me mom and his father dad, but the rest was hard to make out at times. Being in a new place, surrounded by new people, he began to pick up on more and more. One day, I was taking a bath and my son looked around the corner for me. He called out my name. I didn’t know it then, but that was the beginning of him calling me Magen, and not mom. I tried to fight it for a while, but my will power was weak. The more he called me by my name the less I had time to spend arguing with him. Soon I was no longer mom but simply Magen. People would m...

CHILDBIRTH: A CAUTIONARY TALE

Childbirth: A Cautionary Tale First of all, I do not share this to leave the impression I am particularly tough, because I am not. At least not any tougher than any other mom after she’s had her first baby. I also am not in the business of scaring new or soon to be moms, rest assured the odds of experiencing the following are extremely slim, practically nonexistent. Truthfully, I share this slightly selfishly for cathartic purposes but also to spread awareness of a debilitating condition and to let sufferers know, you are not alone. I had a dream pregnancy. If not for the big belly and the constant stranger comments about that big belly, I wouldn’t have even noticed that perfect babe cooking. And truthfully my labor was pretty easy breezy as well. I walked in half way dilated and rea...

MY SISTER’S 21ST BIRTHDAY

I am currently failing miserably as I try to wrap a pretty, pink 21 champagne glass along with a Disney soft toy of the chicken Hei Hei from the Moana movie; the last one on the shelf at the Disney store which I purchased yesterday with a heavy heart and the all too familiar swelling in my throat that I routinely suppress in the hope that I can make it through the 12th of September without cracking too early.  The root of my heartache goes back 21 years, when I had just started primary school. I was five and my middle sister was three, and both of us excitedly awaited the arrival of the baby in mummy’s tummy, who would provide the much desired third addition to our princess/Barbie/make believe games.  I’ll spare my mother the haunting memories of my youngest sister’s birt...

MOTHERHOOD AND ITS INTENSE CHALLENGES

Being a mother is a wonderful experience and the closest thing to a miracle that women get to experience. But if you are a first-time mother, there are aspects of motherhood that might scare you or at least replace some of your excitement with concern. This can be avoid if you stay informed and know what to expect from such an experience. Let’s go through some of the most common struggles that mothers go through in their first phase of motherhood. 1. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety You have spent 9 months carrying your baby inside of you and as soon as you give birth to them, you might have to face a bunch of emotional changes that will affect you to the extent of depression. However, even if many mothers face this challenge, you don’t have to be a sure victim. If you keep your mind occu...

HOW MY MOM RAISED (OR DIDN’T RAISE) ME WHILE BATTLING DEPRESSION

I realized I was just like my mom when my husband had his first panic attack. Driving through the city, he had to stop, and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and take over, thinking about how dramatic he was being, downplaying his emotions, his terror, his sheer, brain-zapping panic.  That’s what she was, my mom. That’s what she did. Other’s emotions were too much, or not enough. Too complicated or oversimplified. She was always too busy or too overbearing, hovering or hiding.  I learned to deal with my emotions alone. I learned to walk softly, speak little and make myself small.  She wouldn’t call me for three months and then threaten to come beat down my door to “make sure I was okay” after she decided to text me during the work day, and I didn’t respond within 60 seconds. There was never...

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