Saturday, January 28, 2012

Play Buddies

Dear Hanuel,

I have already promised a dozen little boys that they will be your buddy.  Well, I have promised a dozen mommies with boys your age that you will be their little buddy. There are so many people who are expecting your arrival. Your emo (auntie) Mia wakes up and the first things she thinks of some mornings is how happy she is to have you come home soon. There are far away aunties like Megan and Jenna who have already purchased you your first baby gifts. I make baby registries for you and I half don't know what you even need when you get here because I don't exactly know how old you'd be at gotcha time. Regardless, I don't can't help but to look out for all the things I want to give you and not just material things, but buddies, activities, us time, love, food, things I can't even conceive of yet, but I know I'd want to give them to you.

You'll never be lonely or be short of love here. We're all waiting.


Monday, January 23, 2012

What you'll get into

Dear Haneul,

While your dad and I were sitting out on the balcony last night because it was 41 degrees and foggy after a snowfall, we wondered if you would be athletic. And if you were athletic, if you'd enjoy playing baseball or soccer, because as it were, baseball is a spring sport, so you can play soccer in the fall. We think you would have some kind of swag and you'd be able to hang with the kind of cool kids who play baseball or soccer.

We then thought about, "What if he's not athletic at all?" What if you were like Ethan, our little 3 year old buddy who plays guitar and promises that he will become a rock star one day. He has swag too and when he rocks out, he has a certain dirty grunge rock and roll style, with his guitar down low and his pants down low with it. He nods his head just only slightly to feel the flow and he has such a cool air about him and I wonder if you'd be just like that.

I wonder what kinds of things you'd get into, I had pinned up some crafts that we can do together while we're home together and your dad says they're too girly. He'd like to see me build a toy gun out of wood rather than have you make coffee filter flowers and egg carton wreaths, but I think those are plenty manly if you ask me. Craft has no gender! Then it led to me to think that you'd be an artist or maybe a writer just like your mom and your grandfather, who writes like Hemingway but way too busy and underestimates himself to do any serious writing. Maybe when he retires...

Whatever you get into, I hope you do it with freedom and passion, not letting others dictate what you love to do. You do your thang!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Good Grief

You know those people you were fettered to? Those people you tolerated because of a higher cause? It's a great burden to keep peace and seek reconciliation for the sake of your love for another. Then, there is great release, great freedom when they themselves break off ties with you. It's when that boyfriend or girlfriend that you've been wanting to break up  but don't want to hurt finally breaks up with you. You sigh a sigh of relief when they do and you are free from he ball and chain that has imprisoned you for far too long.

Although she has broken off ties with you and still feels as though she has wronged you, you feel cavalier and breathing in clean air refreshed. You suddenly feel brave and throw shit into the air because there is no one that can touch you no longer. It's just words, words that have been twisted and deranged in their diluted mind that concocted murky confusion of stories that just don't add up. You feel strangely effervescent that she is no longer our responsibility. Let her go, let it run it's course and whoever falls into her lies, let them. First you try to save them and dispel the lies she's poisoned their soul with, but if they don't follow the light, if they don't recognise what's right then you must let hem find out in time.

Jealousy is a venomous bitter drink that the consumer doesn't realize they drink. Once they've had their first sip, it leads into a gulp, then they will eventually and inevitably be drunk with it's venom. The venom will course into their bloodstream and soon, they will not know what they say, what they hear, what they see, and only thing they believe will be what they dream up in their wake. Spinning their web of lies and spin their web bigger and bigger, trapping the innocent and the seemingly loyal. Cut yourself from them and brush the dirt off your shoulder, climbing higher and more righteous, no longer in their realm of feeding ground.

You're out.

Day Dreams

Dear Haneul,

There are numerous moments in my day where I am day dreaming about you. A transparent silhouette of you runs with reluctant steps around the house, waving around a small Tupperware I would have given you to play with.  I picture you at restaurants and sitting aside me coloring a print out of a Degas painting (because I think Sponge Bob is too shallow for you), with a box full of crayons at Starbucks. When I wait in line for coffee, you would grapple at the juice and point to cookies you'd like to eat as a snack. I'd calculate for a moment of how much sugar you had that day, and half-heartily share one with you because I want to give you want you want, but still be a good mom.

I walk through the mall and nothing quite catches my eye any more but  the small graphic tee shirts for boys and tiny jeans that I would put you in. Friends and family were afraid we would be put in the poor house from all the shopping I would do for a little girl, and they were relieved that I had been matched with a little boy instead. I don't know if that helped because I still want to acquire every cute thing that I see for a little boy. The desire to give you everything is still the same, no matter if you were a girl or a boy. I had wanted a little girl thinking I would be a better mom, a better counselor, a better friend down the line, and it wasn't a secret that I had wished for a girl. When I heard that I was given a boy, I was surprised I didn't even grieve for a second, but I celebrated and all the wish for a girl went right out the window. Now, I think to myself, "what would I do with a little girl?"But I'm sure that would change if I do have a baby girl some day.

I pick up little boys at church carrying them around to see how heavy you would be when you come to me. I ask, "how old is your little boy?" guestimating how big and how long you would be, if you would be talking or walking, eating solid foods or still drinking formula. I don't know what to feed you when you get here...but I'm still trying to figure it out. Don't worry, you won't go hungry. 

Thinking of you always and seeing you in my day dreams...


Friday, January 20, 2012

Moneyball (watch it)

I watch sports and it's mildly entertaining when I care about the sport and something is riding on the game personally. School pride, city pride or your irrational love for lovable losers who disappoint you every single year no matter how much you believe in them. I normally don't get too emotionally invested nor do I completely understand what's going on, but I get baseball. Growing up in a baseball family, it must be in the blood. My grandfather played baseball when it was the grand old American past time and it was glamorous to play. It has deep seeded history, magic and romance that no other sport quite invokes. My father courted my mother in the stadium where the Seoul Tigers played their inadequate baseball that mildly resembled the teams played in the West. My brother was pruned by the two generations and started playing catch, pitched a perfect game in his little league travel team and had the hopes of my father on his shoulders to play professional baseball.

It gets in your blood after a while and soon, the rules, the stats, the player names and teams are wandering aimlessly in your subconscious and it eventually morphs into a love for the game. There is magical nostalgia when i think about baseball and loving the game means falling in ranks with the great legends and you belong to the deep history of Americana. Baseball seems simple to the naked eye and this is probably the reason why pee wee boys can join in the legacy at their tender age. There are simple rules you can recite, hit round ball with round stick and run from base to base. As pee wees mature into little league players and each base you get on begin to weigh in on your stats. Batting Average, Bases on balls, strikeouts, stolen bases, total bases, sacrifices, and those are the ones I know of. The starting line up, starting pitchers, the closers, all bring a team to a win or to a lose. There's more than just physicality that each player invests into the game, thus all the extra weight in the middle parts of some players and some junk in the trunk, but there is head game and strategy. Many accuse baseball of being dependent on the individual athleticism, but it's the combination of each part of the whole.

Besides the heady and technical aspects of the game, there is something mystical about baseball, something to day dream about. "If you build it, they will come," whispers into the ears of baseball dreams and baseball superstitions run so deep in the legacy of the team, it becomes their identity and curse. Grown men who are awarded millions of dollars will abide by the field gods not to anger them and engage in series of religious hocus pocus to ward off their wrath. Not talking about the outcome of a 7 game series before it is over, not shaving after a first post season win, chewing only one wad of gum per game, and tapping one's bat on home plate before an at-bat. If by chance you have angered the baseball ghosts, you end up a long running curse long as 100 years. This is exactly why our lovable Cubbies have not won a world series since 1908, when someone angered a goat. As the story goes, Billy Sianis owned a goat and when tried to bring him in during the 1945 world series between the Cubs and the Tigers, he was denied by the Wrigley Field security. Billy, and apparently the goat were angered and he put a curse on the Cubs that they would never win another pennant or play in a World Series at Wrigley Field again.

I'm not a baseball junky and I don't watch a random game of baseball with teams that have nothing to do with me, because I do agree it's not as fast paced as a speedy hockey game at the cusp of a fist fight at any moment, nor is it as glamorous as football with dancing showboats in shiny hip huggers, but I love the game. Baseball is culture, nostalgia, history and magic.

"It's hard not to be romantic about baseball" - Moneyball

Broken heart

There's no doubt that KCC has been the pillar that has held up the past three summers and I'm almost sure that it holds up years I didn't know them at all. In many ways I see that God has given KCC to me as a gift and no matter how I manipulate the past by doing mental gymnastics, it would have not paned out any more perfect than it has. I imagine myself running into my friend Kenny or Dennis and having them tell me about KCC just as I graduated college, "you should go to KCC  Susie, it's the bomb!" Dennis would say and I would have known them for at least 10 years by now. Or if I had been more expressive about my desires for adoption, my sister in law would have told me about KCC, "Susie, you would love this camp..." and I would have known them for at least 7 years. No matter how I aim my time machine to travel, the timeliness of God's plan is always perfect and far better planned than my own way.

KCC came to me at a time of great contemplation and vulnerability, and I was mailable, changeable and bendable. I was a lump of clay that had nearly given up on finding a purpose and passion for herself and grown tired of being so strong and upright. I was a reluctant counselor who had made her mind up to do one last altruistic deed before she could flush down the life she had built in Chicago and jet set onto a life of international intrigue and excitement. I was no longer tied to the community and ready to forget that I was anyone's neighbor, friend or family, rather a free spirit ready to trot the glob and live for myself.

God had struck my heart while it was hot. Deep down inside, I wanted a community to belong to, some place I can walk into without explaining myself, or feeling like an alien. KCC broke my heart in multiple ways, breaking it from being too hard and shutting people out. I had embraced a group of people so fast and so furious that I was afraid once I realized it. It broke it from the walls I had built and the encasing that surround my heart melted way with one shout of "Susie noona!" and "Susie unnie!" It was as though I had bit into the forbidden fruit of garden of Eden, opening my eyes to a whole new love and a whole new community and I could never go back to the way I was.

KCC broke my heart another way and I can't help but to think that they are bad for me....and I hate to say this out loud...but I feel as though we are indulgent and we love each other so much that we have become an idol in each other's eyes. Something good made into a god, a god that permeates everything we do and every thought we have, where nothing is above this god. I have put my husband before them, my family, my money, my possessions and I am willing to give over my body and soul to them. I became completely trusting and completely vulnerable, exposing the most tender parts of me that no has ever seen.

They are good, absolutely good, maybe too good in my eyes that I am willing to do anything for them. I have never known this kind of forfeiture, I feel out of control. I know I have in me a free spirit and when I let that out, it takes over me and I am no longer Susie, but some other form of me. It's like when Jean Grey becomes Phoenix and when she lets loose her powers, her wrath, there is no stopping her, not even herself. In the end she says, "help me" in the most desperate voice, and she has to die. She herself does not want to be this person and she has to die to herself to save the people she loves. I have to detox, die to myself and let Jesus live in me.

KCC, breaks my heart still...and it's because I will not be back this summer to see them. I am aware that they will live on without me and camp will be just as good. I'm sad I won't be part of the dream team that once was and still is in my mind's eye. I'm sad to realize that maybe, just maybe God had given them to me for only a little while and soon he will take them away from me for good.  I don't know the last time I was this heart broken. It finally comes to an end, the era of summers in Avon and complete pure abandon partially because of people's sin and paranoia, but mostly because God has his hand perfectly in everything. Just as the time for counselor call backs came around, instead of being asked back to KCC once more, I received a call to be a mother to one instead of 55. It's not greater or lesser, but it's just a different season of loving and mothering. I'm happy to add one more to the roster of kids I love.

(I guess summer love always leads to heartbreak.)

Siblings to friends

As long as I've known the sun and the moon, I've known my brother. As long as he had breath, I've known him and no one else would know me or know him better than each other. we love like no normal brother and sister would love because we only had one another. when other little boys and girls were growing up with cousin, kids from the block and school classmates to invited to their birthday parties at Mcdonald's play land or Chuckie Cheese, we were jet setting to Japan and making our way to New York as my father changed jobs as quickly as he was changing shirts.

We didn't know any better than to play with one another and just as little brothers do, he annoyed me and I beat on him, but there was also this attachment we knew we were never to break because we are blood and there was only us in the world. Who will back us up when there are kids in the neighborhood chasing you down for a brand new watch? Only your older sister who was two grades older and was a head taller than any of your 3rd grade rag tag gang from your 8 year old clan. Who will yell at your boyfriend to stop calling while you are curled up on the couch crying your 15 year old eyes out because you have seen your first heart break.

My brother and I had talked till wee hours of the night as we both come home from college, he and I have shared secrets and nothing was off topic. There was no fear of judgement of refusal, no danger of him rejecting me in any way. No matter how many times people around us taunted us about incest and "weird relationship" between us, it didn't faze us, at least not me. Until she came along....I have to admit that it's difficult to concede against me for his love and vice versa it's hard to vie for my love against him. There was no comparison because there's no one else that got us like we did.

I'm losing him though, and at each non-response, each silence, I see that I am losing him to life, to maturity, to marriage mine and his. I'm heart broken, wounded and feel a little abandoned. There's no consoling and no consolation for him. He was every relationship, every friend, all the family I needed and only family I have. I guess redefining our relationship is the only option to what life has done to us, we no longer live in the same house, or even the same town at that. The way we have changed makes me see that we are finally adults, grown ups and I don't quite know when all of that happened.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

First Birthday

Dear Haneul,

Today you might have celebrated your first birthday with your foster parents and your foster brothers and sisters. I am regretful that I am missing your first birthday and someone else is throwing you what is the biggest party you would have had as a little Korean boy. I imagine you were surrounded by fruits, cake, rice cakes and food that your foster parents have prepared you, you may have been in your first Hanbok and I hope they took enough pictures of you to satisfy me one day.

Today, I bought you a little mocha cake from Whole Foods and had them write "Happy Birthday Jude" on the cake. I brought it to our small group and after the dinner I cooked them and two little boys I love named Micah and Ethan blew out the candle on your little cake. Ethan, who is now three years old  asked me where you were and why I wasn't picking you up already. I think that's a good question that one can quite answer. There's just no good reason that makes sense to anyone, but I'm still waiting and we are apart. It's increasingly harder to wait for you because I know your face and I know your name, and I know you are growing, aging month by month, bonding more and more with her instead of me.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rebel without a cause

Lately, I've noticed a change in me that should disturb me, but hasn't bothered me one bit. What's curious is that in most cases, I would notice a change in me in a negative way and I would jump on that like white on rice, but I really kind of like the welcomed change. Growing up, I have been a perfect baby and my mother would say that I have never thrown such a tantrum in all my baby career, as we pass a furious child in a shopping mall. Even as a teenager, or even in the hateful and awkward junior high years, I had been on my best behavior, afraid to color outside the lines. I had been the perfect little girl and when I went to college, I had one objective and that was to do everything people had told me not to do. Although I had set out to do my worst, I could only swallow down one semester of really "bad" behavior and felt too guilty continuing on with my life of debauchery.

Come to think of it, I wasn't really that bad in college, but in my adulthood, people still think that I am the party girl I am not. But as of late, I'm not sure if it's because I realize I only have 4 to 5 months left of my freedom and I will have to leave my life of childhood behind to become a momma, I don't feel guilty doing what I want, let people think what they want. I didn't quite have the normal childhood nor youth, so I may be living whatever was lost right now...or the last three summers. I have to attribute my youthful fun that I had never had to the perfectionist tendencies and my put-others-before-me-people-pleasing-attitude and I did this to myself. For a long time, I thought that not having the normal childhood like all my other friends because of my father's job had cost me my youth, but that's not true.

Whatever this is, I am enjoying the freedom that comes from not caring what other people think of me any more and what my parents expect of me. I have a feeling that part of this does come from knowing that I am not cut into the same mold as everyone else. There is a new normal and I don't quite fit into any of the normals out there. Not my childhood, my marriage, my baby, my life, not any of it. I'm sure everyone has a unique story, but the timeline of my mile stones have come in a different order and in unique circumstances. I like where I am right now...feeling free to be myself and not pleasing a single being. I'm grateful for my kcc friends who have rewound the tapes and let me have the kind of young wild and free kind of fun the last three summers, I am also so thankful for my free spirited parents who have given me my soul and my Aquarius tendencies, and last and not least, my husband who has the bandwidth for patience like the sea.

Losing my Innocence

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." - Matthew 10:16

I'm beginning to think that I can't live in this world and survive without losing a little of my innocence. People take advantage of you and they always try to get one leg up and will try to pin whatever fault on you. You will become the victim to their short comings and insecurities, their blemishes and eventually what they project onto you of themselves, will eventually what people will believe of you. Without losing your innocence, you will forever be innocuous and harmless, allowing justice to go surrendered and tie its hand behind it's back. Although God says he will avenge you, are we really to live a life as cowards and fools until the day of atonement? When do we stick up for ourselves? When do we shout out and when do we fight against what is unfair? When we constantly give into their destruction, it's like a dog returning their own vomit, we must know when to walk away.

Without losing your naivety, you can't caution against the shallows lurking around the corner to mug you of the contents of your wallet or even your life. Without having a little perspective and waking to the realities of life and take a cold hard look in the eye of corruption, you can't wise up. You'll forever become  a cautionary tale, "don't let this happen to you." Doesn't it behoove me to be skeptical, no, wise and leery of all those who try to hand you a million dollars through email and share the wealth they have inherited through their dead uncle in England? How is it unrighteous to be experienced and learn from the world when the world is where we live and the world is what we need to survive everyday. Are we to be credulous and show simplicity, when all of man kind preys on the unsophisticated and ingenious?

Without losing your purity, what will you have to say for yourself about teaching others about life? Can you be a good counselor and confidant if you have not seen for yourself suffering and heartbreak? No one wants to hear from a person living a charmed life without knowing the hardship of life and how you can win your dignity back. It's difficult to be a dove so innocent, naive and pure that you are above reproach and rebuke, just as it is to be so innocent, naive and pure that you will not be duped when the world plays tricks on you. We cannot hold so tight what and whom we love so when we are to lose them to sickness and tragedy, we are side swept and caught off guard. Wound is so much more open and painful when you do not brace yourself for the fall. I imagine that I could or would have been able to spot a heart breaker or the wrong type of boy from a mile away. Maybe I could have saved myself from heart sickness, feelings of being devalued, unloved and just plain old slutty?

Some thing about losing, suffering, pain, sadness and sin makes us appreciate the life we have, the good people, the good family, good husband, good home. Losing my innocence may have been the best lesson I could have learned and when the fog of magic glitter is settled from my eyes, I see things clearly. I see my life just as it is, not bad, not charmed but totally worth living and appreciating. Without the mistakes I've made, I would not know the righteous path to walk, well maybe I would have or I should have but some people just have to learn the hard way. Suffering through each experience and learning through feeling, almost losing what you always wanted but didn't know you already had.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dear Hanuel

Dear Haneul,

On December 28, 2011 I received a phone call I've been waiting for and wishing for more years than I can remember. You were just a silent dream sprouting in the fertile soil of youth and optimism, and although I've always wished for you, that fertile soil eventually grew hard with harsh storms and cold winters. That small sprout didn't die under the harden spoil, but grew roots underneath even though the sprout was not able to rear its head through the concrete so thick. One year in 2009, there was light and warm torrence of rain had fallen on the once supple ground that was planted with aspirations, dreams and was easily fertilized with inspirations to nurture whatever fell on my heart.

I had met 55 dreams similar to you, 55 sprouts that had already blossomed into ripened fruit, blossomed flowers and grown stalks of trees. They have been the surrogate dream that were lent to me for the duration of time I would have waited for you. I don't know how I would have patiently endured through two and a half years of silence and mountains of paper work without an end in sight, without my KCC kids. Now you have 55 brothers and sister who you will call "hyung" and "noona" because you are now family too. Just the time I was supposed to receive the call back to KCC, I received a call to say that you were mine instead. The small strong sprout that had grown only roots is nearly bloomed into the baby I had wished for far too long.

Can't wait to meet you Jude "Sky" Shin

I love you already,

2012 Resolution

It's been over a month, almost exactly a month since my last post and I've been a quiet time in my life. I would normally would have posted that I have quietly been contemplating my life and day dreaming of days that could have been. I haven't. Curiously and uncharacteristic of me, I haven't really been thinking much about myself nor about the world about, but living fully in the moment and it's been a refreshing change. I was sort of growing sick of my internal monologue and tirades that eventually spill onto the white canvas of the web.  Thus, I am back because I am still Susie after all and I do have things I would like to get on paper. What spurred me into thinking more about myself today was not due to my typical self contemplation and evaluation as a person, but I heard a sermon about Pressing on.

There are very few years that I have set out to accomplish something as we flip open our brand new calendars, and this year I had no intention of setting myself up for failures. I didn't need to add to the growing collections of unfinished projects, books collecting dust and yet another One Year Bible still in it's plastic packaging, gone unread. One thing I want to do this year is to run and keep my eyes set to the next step of the race. I want to look toward the one goal of knowing Jesus Christ better each day and this way, I can never be a failure and would have aligned myself in the right trajectory. There's nothing to strive toward and there's no finished project until the end, it's the striving and growing, the posture and heart of wanting to know Jesus Christ that is the reward itself.

I know I have made mistakes and often easy let astray by my own hand, and sometimes the hand of others, but perhaps if my eyes were still the Christ, I can continue my growth without straying too far from Him. I'm not saying I wouldn't make major or minor mistakes in the future as I run, all I'm saying is that I want to give it a decisive step toward Him every day. Whether I feel sorry for myself, ashamed, embarrassed or unworthy to come before Christ or anyone for that matter, no matter how I feel about myself, I will trudge through to put on foot in front, to progress on.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."    Philippians 3: 12-13