Friday, August 31, 2012

What to expect, when you're expecting

There are two kind of moms-to-be (by my observation and not by some National Gallop Poll). The first one is the kind that will read all the books out there about becoming a mother and what to expect when you're expecting and there's precisely a well known book titled that. They will research and have emails sent to them monthly or sometimes even weekly on the milestones they should be expecting when their child is growing month by month. Then there is the other kind of mom, who tries to feel around the baby and it's needs, when all else fails, call their moms.

I am the second kind. I don't typically fret or worry about instructions and manual, I learn for fun and want to know obscure things like what is the significance of the Book of Durrow and in what era was it was manuscripted, you know... practical things. When I purchase a piece of put-it-together-yourself-furniture, AKA something from IKEA. I don't look at the instructions right away, I will look at all the parts and see if I can piece it together myself. If there's snag, then I will desperately thumb through the instructions and redo the project if I have to. I realize this isn't the most energy efficient or time conscious way to do things, but hey, it's my energy and it's my time and it's my way. So naturally, even when I received books from my adoption training seminars and the "What to expect from your toddler" books I got as gifts, they were immediately put on the shelves for decoration.

I tried to read through some of the pages, thinking I will put some effort into this because a baby isn't a piece of $29.99 side table, but a real live organism and it's a whole lot harder to redo that project. I couldn't do it! I felt I had enough experience watching and experiencing little ones the last ten years of my life and I had the best resource of all! KCC counselors and my friend Mia who I can always count on for honest answers to my nonsensical questions. I didn't want to be that mom that read too many books on babies paralyzing themselves and their kid from experiencing a little dirt in the nails and eating a piece of dried up apple from .... when was the last time I gave him apples...? Anyway, the moms that knew too much began to think that their babies were in danger of contacting every disease and disorder coming and going through this planet. They were always looking out for signs of delay or emotional damage they may have been causing with their punishments, if that's what you call letting your kid sit on a cute little time out chair for 30 seconds.

I began reading a book that I received as a gift and I'm actually beginning to think that all of the stated emotional damage that adopted kids may have from being adopted is going to happen to J! I began questioning every cry and every quirky behavior, whereas before the book, I just ascribed it to him being a baby or that he's just a funny little kid. I'm not saying that none of these books are of value and we should have a book burning of all instructional resources for children, but we must consider them resources and not warning signs of eminent doom. I want to know all I can about being sensitive to my child and to be equipped with every arsenal I can get my little brain around, so that I can one day be a comfort to my child. However, I don't want to LOOK for any inclination and create problems when there aren't any.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Role Model

Today, I was reading another blogger's entry and she said something about having some good examples of motherhood and womanhood. It's kind of a coincidence that I happened to read this today because I've been really thinking and struggling through what I should look like at my age, or even ten years from now. Sure, my mother was the best mother there was...but we were also the best babies there were. According to her (and maybe she blocked all bad memories of us so that she can go on as a functioning human being) we were the best babies. We didn't overly fuss, cry, throw tantrums, at nap time we put ourselves to bed and helped her with the house chores. Really?! My mother is also the strongest person I know. Do you know why? because he's married my a pretty emotional, free-spirited, expressive, head in the clouds kind of person and that can be quite exhausting.

No matter how good my mother is, and this saint is no doubt one in a million, she can't be a good role model for a mere mortal. Her sacrifice, the way she holds her tongue and always does the right things, these things all seem to come so naturally to her, it's hard to relate to. Then I was thinking about how I don't want to sacrifice myself for my children and my husband all the time, I want to have a dream of my own. Some days  I look at my mom and know that she's just supporting and waiting for all of us to realize our dreams, and that's her dream. Perhaps motherly instinct hasn't quite settled into me, which is so potent in my mother, but I need human role models. Some in my position, some who are 10 years older, some 20, and some who are in their winter years and are living full meaningful lives for others. One role model can't encompass all the things that I want to grow into because that's just impossible, this isn't Build-A-Bear.

In part, my mother is too pure and too good to give me the deep seeded answers I need because she's never been in that dark place. Perhaps it's that she's my mother and I don't want her to know all the sordid details of my past mistakes and how to deal with them today. It's too complicated and too embarrassing to tell my own pure angel of a mother. It's difficult it seems for any Korean American Christian girl in my generation to have anyone older who can understand their position because the only ones older than us are our mothers. Sure, they're strong and weathered immigration, working, learning a foreign language and raising entitled children to play piano and go to Harvard one day, but their struggles are much different than ours. Their culture, their generations seems so far removed from the American teenage life, we all had to look to blue eyed, blond haired girls to see what they were wearing, what they were doing, how they were talking. 

I feel a little tired trying to figure out how all this is suppose to work...dealing with the moves, my childhood, reconciling my past experiences, mistakes and victories to who I'm suppose to be for my children today and in the future. How will they know that their mother struggled and made colossal mistakes, but can she still be redeemed, forgiven and empowered to live a righteous life? What will I do with the miscarriage story? How will they know and when will I  tell them that despite my disappointments, I have grown to be the kind of person that can roll with the punches. I want to be able to ask someone, an older, wiser, trust worthy, beautiful someone all of my stray questions about life. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Contentment Today

I've been having THE worst writers block and I've resorted to posting old essays or things I jotted down almost a year ago. The sentiment or the feelings I don't even remember nor can I relate to them, even though I was the one who wrote those words at one time. I guess that's why we need to write at this moment, because we won't ever feel exactly the way we feel right now! Sure, we've been sad a million times, lost a billion, and happy even more, but the nuances and the spirit in which those emotions were evoked are all so different. It's never ever the same exact sadness, lost-ness, or happiness.

Today, I am dry and a little bit numb, maybe this is what it's like to be completely content and what I'm trying to conjure up as emotion is just what I remember of past situations. Today though, I believe I am completely content, not overly happy or overly sad, but there is a stability that isn't quite me. Normally it would bother the heck out of me that I'm not acting myself, but today, I am thankful that I am concretely there for my baby. Unable to break down or lifted up with the changing of the winds so that he will know a stable home on a day to day bases. 

Sure, I do mourn the death of my social life, well...okay not death, but maybe a traumatic change from our former glory, but in exchange, I chuckle every 30 minutes from the cuteness that just won't quit. Maybe in a few years, as children are added on to us, I will be forced to drive a humongous farm sized vehicle to manage the transit of all of my little ones, but how fun is a crowded home with family to love. Maybe this is how we become our parents, and this is how our parents became their parents. When you have children, people you are responsible for, you can't be bothered by pettiness because you don't want your sons to be petty. I know one thing is for sure, your parents go to bed at 9:30 pm because you suck the life out of them every day. That's why they end up as your old man, who can't be bothered to wear a pair of pants when your friends are over...they just don't have the energy, but it's also because they don't give a damn what you think or owe you anything.

The mundane tasks bore me to tears, I'm a little lonely talking to a baby who replies only in gibberish, and the hours of sitting and watching my child play, reading him a book or blowing bubbles jabs me with existential crisis. Is this all there is to life? But then I try to remind myself that without reading him books, giving him a million kisses a day (I really do, I count them), and replenishing his food bowl, he would not be as happy as he is. Despite these feelings of tedious monotony, today, I am okay with how I feel and even though my words don't twist, slide, and curl with literary genius, I speak simply today. I'm content.


Eventually has come where there is a gap in between you and me. I don't know where you are when I send you messages in a bottle and there is no response. It's as though my words float along the dark waters of the digital vortex and fall down a waterfall, but when you peer down, you see no end. My thoughts and words seem like trash tossed to the wind and nothing comes back to me.

Eventually has come where you and I are finally growing apart and there is no summer to come when we will reignite and rekindle our love again, our friendship again, it's just one continuous day now, of now or never. You won't share with me what's every day and what's real, you won't share with me the life circumstances and the let downs. You don't tell me what you really feel and what your day is like, so we eventually become strangers. Eventually, you and I will be fading in the old photos that we scrolled through like obsessed madmen surveying each eye, hand and fingers on each picture we took one summer. We will pass by those pictures framed on our wall and not notice that once we loved each other with intensity. And maybe eventually, you'll take those pictures out of those frames to replace them with pictures that are more current, people who are more present.

Perhaps eventually, it won't hurt as much to think of you and resent you for not responding, not believing me and not seeing me the way you should. Maybe in a few years I won't obsessively think about what you think about me, what you're doing, what you heard from her, what you heard from him. Maybe eventually I will forget you too like we never even met because it seems that might be what's easy for me to do. Easier on me, on my heart, on my soul, so that eventually I will be able to stand up again and with my memory gone, I can love again and I  can love another. I have always done just this you know? Count on "eventually" because without letting them go, I would not stand here today, I would not love you like I do today. It's because I eventually forgot about the pain and decidedly loved, that you and I are brothers, sisters, friends.

I hope this eventually will never come, although some has already been here and gone. Let me down easy, it's a high place to fall from.