Family and Motherhood

MOM TO BE OR NOT

Looking back, I miss the naiveté of my early 20s. Was I aware that I may have fertility issues? Absolutely. PCOS, hypothyroidism, a history of skin cancer, not to mention the multitude of other health issues that came about throughout my life were all reminders that someday I may struggle. With a hopefulness that was almost childlike, I went out into the world and fell in love. After years of the ups and downs of the dating scene, the late nights out with girlfriends, and the numerous laughs and tears shared over glasses of wine, I had FINALLY found the one. He is charming and sweet and goofy, he never hesitated to remind me that I was beautiful or keep in touch with me throughout the days. While he doesn’t share my love of reading, he does share my love of history and sports (although in ...

TWO PERCENT

My mother had turned it into a game. And it was simple. Whoever found the most change in the house won. That was it. Our one story suburban home was free range. Everything counted. You only had to make sure that you turned every single silver cent in. Pennies allowed, of course, but frowned upon. It didn’t really matter, though. Only that our wooden, chipped coffee table was covered in coins. My mother and I didn’t start playing this game until I was 10 years old, right after my dad left. My older brother, Nicholas, wasn’t around much. Just as absent as our father. Spending most of his time at his friend’s house, unable to deal with our sadness, I think. I didn’t notice it back then. Especially when my mother would move the stacks of unpaid bills off the coffee table and we’d stand on eith...

BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON

On September 28th, 2015 a wild red moon orbited so close to the earth, it eclipsed the sun. Nearer than ever before, it shone like a star, like a red, fiery, hot star – except, it was the moon. Promising the harvest. Promising the night. Promising to light up the dark. High above the gold of the eastern mountain tips, but low and close, burning bright into the sky, we traced its luminous shadows. Full of force, a howl, endings, and beginnings – we watched it rise and heard its wild call – we listened close, and so we made you. Like your sister, you had been waiting for us and not the other way around. That first week in October you were a tiny wonder I was having deep in the secrets of my mind. One morning, I drifted into the bathroom and unwrapped a pregnancy test. A few...

LETTER TO MY NINE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER

I didn’t plan motherhood, although I always knew I would someday be a mom. You decided to come when you were ready rather than letting me plan and connect the dots. From the time I saw the positive on the (10) pregnancy tests to the time I saw you in my arms, bawling and squirming, is still a blur. I wanted to write you a letter to tell you how I felt. To apologize for not bonding right away. To explain why we are always harder on you. You are our little lioness, but also our little mouse: sensitive, but resilient. When you were born I waited for the overwhelming protective instinct to envelop me – that love to wash over and overtake me. But it didn’t happen. Instead, I felt overwhelmed, tired, and a disconnect. I had post-partum depression, and you were colicky. It was not your typi...

THE HUMOR OF MOTHERHOOD

Motherhood is a complicated, messy job. There are a lot of ups and downs, and it’s easy to get caught up in if you’re doing it right. But here’s the thing, we’re all figuring it out as we go and are learning on the job. This is a whole new thing, not only for you, but also to your little one. Instead of getting yourself worked up on all the things you’re doing wrong, I’ve found it helpful to look at how hilarious it is to be a mom. There are so many ridiculous things that happen on a daily basis, so why not embrace it and laugh at your silly, new life. Here are some examples: Guess that stain – who knew you could have so much fun trying to figure out if that brown spot on your shirt is coffee or poop! Mama Bear Mentality/Strength – how your new super power can protect your baby...

‘A’ CUP RUN

The same week that I was inducted onto the itty-bitty titty committee, I somehow found myself on the road with my dad to procure my first bra. Most of the girls in my 6th grade class had started to bloom and blossom. I was at the smaller end of the spectrum and had no clue that braless life would end so abruptly. After days of my dad threatening to buy me a “brassiere” the morning had come to make the purchase. My dad, Herbert, was born in a rural community in Kentucky in 1935. A part of the “Silent Generation” he has always been predictably conservative, firm and traditional in terms of his family values. My mom, Gwen, born 17 years later, a “Baby Boomer”, has always been more relaxed when it comes to issues regarding my fashion choices. She wanted no parts in this conspiracy and thought ...

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...

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