Father Knows Best?

I acted like a teenager yesterday, abruptly hanging up on my parents via Skype. I just said, “BYE!” after getting salty towards my dad. Usually I let Ellis and his grandparents do at least seven rounds of goodbyes and air kisses to the computer screen before finally hanging up.

I never have the chance to talk to him these days as he spends most of the year in Japan without regular Internet access.

So when he is in LA, I try to Skype as frequently as possible to show him his swiftly growing grandbabies.

I ended up pouring my heart out about things that hurt and anger me in my current life stage. I was getting riled up just talking about it. Nothing to do with him. As always, the angrier I got, my Korean game stepped up.

I really wanted my folks, especially my dad, the person I seek the most validation from in the whole wide world, to just say, “Yes, I understand. I can imagine.” After all, I had been vulnerable enough to share my heart again instead of just hiding behind my baby, making chitchat only about him.

“WE FEEL YOU, BELOVED DAUGHTER,” would have hit the spot, too.

Instead, my dad said something like, “Aigoo, don’t say a peep more! THESE ARE THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE. Trust me.” Of course, he said it in Korean, so some of this is lost in translation.

I said something snarky like, “Oh really, Daddy? This coming from someone who said he can never babysit again because it was too damn hard when he was only SECOND-CHAIRING IT? Too hard even when only helping my mama out here and there during our annual trip to LA? That’s all you can say? These are the happiest days of my life?”

Today, I was beaming as I enjoyed Ellis at our Mommy and Me Zoo Class, a class I had been wanting to attend for so long with one of my boys, but wasn’t allowed to bring a tag-along sibling to. The zoo understandably said we must adhere to a one child-one parent ratio, or else it’d be too distracting. So after Micah went off to full-day pre-K, Ellis and I were able to get our zoo class on.

I just drank him in as he sat on my lap, petting Nona the Turtle and Emma the Snake.

A mental picture flashed before my eyes: how ecstatic our family of four was when Micah overcame a potty-related fear in our tiny bathroom while Daddy was giving Ellis a haircut in the bathtub. We hooted and hollered as if Micah had just received the call for his Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

I thought about how happy we are to reunite with any member of our small family after any departure, however short. “Mom, you back from the gym!? We missed you. Did you miss us?” “Daddy! Did you miss me SO much when you was at office? Did you keep thinking about me and go, ‘awww, Micah!’?”

Damn it. These ARE the happiest days of my life. While my dad and other first generation immigrant parents can work on being a bit more affirming, he was right.

I’ve said this over and over again but despite being stretched so thin, these are the highlight reels of my life.

One of my beloved bridesmaids so eloquently wrote to me this week, “Isn’t it so interesting how we can straddle so many different emotions at once?”

Tough in so many ways – marriage, finances, inner life, nurturing my faith, limited career options on the Mommy track – but yes, these ARE the days that I will look back on and crave the smoove, perfect cheek of my still-innocent boys.

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