Friday, December 23, 2005
Saturday, December 17, 2005
In my family, the holidays have always been inextricably connected to sadness... and thus we begin the season rather tentatively... quietly willing January to arrive. As I sit alone in the stillest part of the night listening to my son's slow, peaceful breathing-- it occurs to me that the last thing I want to do is pass on a family legacy of grief, fear and foreboding... And so this year I am making a vow to experience the Christmas season through the naive, eager eyes of my new son.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
One of the questions required that I check the box that represented your racial background—a question that most people answer without a second thought. For a number of reasons, I would have expected to be prepared for this decision. First, I am biracial myself, second I am in an interracial marriage and third, I study ethnic identity. So…. I have always known this day would come, but as I sat there with the pen poised to choose a box, the decision became weightier.
Do I check “black” for you? Your father is black and the convention in this country, due to the “one drop rule” is certainly for you to be identified as black as well. And yet I am your mother and I am Korean and white…. How can your ethnic identity exclude me and my heritage completely?
Do I check “Biracial/Multiracial”? It’s certainly technically more accurate but what does that communicate about your ethnic identity? It feels like a betrayal of each specific ethnic group to which you legitimately belong. You have a right to claim your connection to each of these ethnic groups, yet the word “multiracial” does not do those connections any justice.
Do I check “other”? What does that even mean? It’s certainly not psychologically satisfying to check “other”— it makes me feel complicit in marginalizing my own son.
Do I leave it blank? As constrained as I feel by these boxes, I feel most uneasy about letting a stranger decide your racial/ethnic identity for you, particularly after the debacle in the hospital over these issues. I think for some people, leaving it blank feels like a type of resistance but to me it feels like you’re being restricted. Most people have the opportunity to proclaim their identity and the thought that you may have to choose one or none at all frustrates me.
I guess the most important thing to me is that you feel a loving and healthy connection to all aspects of your heritage… that you feel that you have the right to claim each of those connections without feeling like you are betraying any aspect of who you are. I don’t ever want you to feel rejected by one group because you identify and/or affiliate with another.
I want your life to be enriched by the diversity in your family and your own experiences and ultimately in your own identity.
I am grateful that for now your brow remains unfurrowed by troubling matters such as these…
Your loving mom.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
it's interesting though because as i have begun to work toward this goal, i have faced one obstacle repeatedly... the surprisingly difficult task of telling the truth. i dont mean that i feel compelled to lie-- in fact, the opposite is true. i feel pushed, pulled, torn by an intense desire to spill the truth from the deepest darkest parts of my every hidden self... and yet, I bite my tongue (bitterly).
The department holiday party was last night... it was an evening well spent. Good food, good friends, some adult conversation-- what more could a girl ask for?
We had a secret santa gift exchange and I received Amy Tan's book-- The Opposite of Fate: Memoirs of a Writing Life-- the perfect gift! :) Of course we did provide wish lists, but that didn't lessen my sheer glee upon opening the gift!
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
I am not sure why I am so excited that Memoirs was made into a movie given that I probably won't see the inside of a movie theater for quite some time! It's curious though-- I am looking forward to the movie because I thought the book was one of the best I have read in some time and I am curious about its translation to the big screen-- the movie trailer itself does not necessarily thrill me. I wonder if people who haven't read the book are intrigued by the trailer...?
This is the final paragraph of the letter I wrote Jared a few weeks ago when he turned four months old:
This month I really began to feel a bit wistful about you growing up! I know that may sound crazy since you are only four months old, but it’s true. I feel your baby-ness slipping away from me. As time passes, you are not going to let me hug and squeeze your perfect little baby body and kiss your delightfully sweet baby face five thousand times a day. (Your dad insists that your first words are going to be “No more kisses!) You are going to be a little man and insist that I treat you like one—you’re going to be embarrassed when I kiss you and tell you I love you in front of your friends—you’re going to make me drop you off around the corner from the entrance to school until that sad day that you are driving yourself to school…
Well, that’s enough for this month… I am going to sneak over to your cradle and steal a kiss or two to last me.
Your loving mom.
One of the things I have been consistently writing is something I call the "The Jared Letters". After my son was born, there were a few dark moments when I wasn't doing very well and I wasn't sure that I would be around to raise my son. I did my best to ensure that my husband would get all the help possible to raise Jared in a supportive, loving environment... but I wanted Jared to have something from me too. Something tangible to express how deeply and fully I had loved him. So I wrote him an endless letter detailing everything I could anticipate wanting to tell my son. The story of how his father and I met. How we felt when we realized we were having him. Our dreams and hopes for the future....
Thankfully, I have recovered completely from a difficult birth, but I decided to continue writing letters to Jared every month... and I think I will post bits and pieces of my letter to Jared each month here.
Friday, December 02, 2005
We have spent the last week doing crazy things to try to relieve the poor child's symptoms. Squirting saline drops into his nose, after which he scrunches up his face and swallows with a comical, sweet look of uncertainty in his eyes (one that said he knew it wasn't his usual meal of breastmilk). Giving him multiple steam bath/showers a day which leave both of us drained and soggy. Putting mentholated vapor patches on the front of his onesies which leave the left side of my neck feeling cool and refreshed from holding his sick lil body close....
Life sure has changed in the last year!