Declaration During Insomnia

My family is asleep.  Even as I tried to slow down my mind with silent prayer, curled up from my side of the bed, I still could not join them in dreamland.

I got up quietly so as not to wake my sleeping baby in her crib next to me.  She sleeps through fire engine wails and the loudest of incessant NYC ambulance sirens but Mommy’s isolated burp, fart, or cracking of knuckle can scare her.

I came out to the living room to pump my engorged left breast so that maybe then, I can succumb to sleep.

This late hour in this quiet apartment, save for NYC street noises, with my loved ones warm in their crib, twin, and King, feels downright sacred.

Today I shared with the women of my writers’ group that for as long as I can remember, I’ve been told:

“You are SO honest.” – everyone

“Thank you for your transparency.” – church folk

“You are so weird.  You crazy.” – some, including haters

“You’re out there.” – my dentist

“I’d love to have coffee with you.  I just can’t believe how funny you are.  I love you, bunny.” – my obstetrician

Sure, I am not defined by others’ perception of me but daggone it, if the single most “thing” I’ve been called most of my life is HONEST, and I have a deep yearning to connect with people through my writing, AND I lack fear of sharing my struggles and weaknesses, then I’m going to write MORE instead of less, even though my family life is the most demanding it’s ever been.

If you could see our Saturdays alone, where Kevin and I have to text non-stop to coordinate the shuffling of one, two, or three offspring to various scenarios, passing the Lead Parent baton back and forth, TAG, you’re it for now, you might wonder why I’d bother to even waste my time and energy on writing on this little blog.

And that’s just it.  Some yearnings may not be paycheck producing or otherwise “practical” yet the embers remain.  In fact, I really wanted to name our baby girl “Ember” as she, too, was a glowy ember that remained, a yearning I could not stomp out.  And thank the Lord Almighty I never could stomp out that impractical yearning.

So, you’ll be hearing more from me, whether anyone reads this or not.  I think I can go to sleep now.  Thank you, insomnia.


Home is Where the “Hart” is

This past weekend was an especially kid-centered weekend. Lots of fun playing and celebrating at three little friends’ birthday parties, including one Dol, one Bounce U. party, and one Gymnastics party. Thoughts about kiddie parties of 2013 deserve their own post for another time.

On the way there, I did something I rarely do these days. I looked in the mirror. I was sitting in the passenger seat as my husband drove us to the first party.

Some mamas of small children are able to swing it but for me, mirror-checks don’t happen with a toddler and infant around.

The vibe is almost always loud and harried. I’m just happy to be able to wash my face without having to carry on a conversation mid-splash, so a gaze into the mirror isn’t even on my radar. “Yes, Micah, Mommy do seh-soo, right now. Please be patient. Mommy get you Acai berry juice after!”

Constant conversation and negotiations.

Packing sippy cups and a bevy of snacks.

Putting on shoes and tiny socks.

Sniffing butts.

Pleading with the boys to not cry or whine after being belted into their doublestroller and almost out the door when Mommy realizes she has to dig up her keys from another bag.

Running back to the living room from the bathroom because all is too quiet.

Rushing back to the gated play area to make sure #2 didn’t climb to new heights.

Even when their naps overlap, I have to take a deep breath, calm myself for a moment or two before eating some leftovers, making phone calls, responding to emails, and cleaning up messes. (And maybe some blogging on a good day).

The bright light from the passenger seat mirror revealed something I hadn’t seen before. A chin hair. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve sprouted a different, lesser strain before: a long, fine, almost invisible hair the color of straw. So even if it was as long as half my finger, it was magically invisible. But this new guy was short and wiry and black, with an attitude. I named him Kevin Hart. He had been planning to roll to all three parties with me that day, trying to steal the show! He sounded like the Budweiser “WASSSSSSUP” commercial circa 2000.

For some reason, this Kevin Hart made me think about the concept of Home.

Not a metaphorical Home like in the movie “Garden State” or the Home mentioned in one of the most earnest and heartfelt wedding toasts I’ve heard (“May you find a Home in each other”) but an actual physical Home that embodies such longings and sentiments.

As a Christian, I do believe that this world is not my Home in the eternal sense, but as a human, I can’t help but yearn for a worldly home.

A fortress. A sanctuary. A haven.

Perhaps because I keep catching myself waiting to exhale during my current joyful but frenzied life stage.

I don’t have one childhood home I think about when I think about Home.

We immigrated to Los Angeles (Koreatown) a couple months before I turned five, then moved around every few years within different parts of the Los Angeles area. (Realized I’m writing this on the eve of our Coming to America anniversary date).

Each place felt like a Just For Now. Until we move on again.

Even after I moved away to Berkeley for college, my parents moved a couple times so I would visit different homes during my breaks. After Berkeley came graduate school, a few years of working, then law school. All the places I lived in felt so temporary, almost like extended business trips.

I am now a mama of two and a wifey. We are trying our best but have yet to carve out a Home for our new family. I will definitely remember our current place as the home we brought both boys to from their respective hospitals, where they experienced many Firsts and where we nibbled on them probably close to a million times, but it is not where we will lay our heads down for years to come (Lord willing).

I picture a Home where I can be ensconced in a plush bedroom I don’t have to hold my breath and tiptoe into lest I wake up my Baby Beluga second son. Have some space to exhale, read a novel, write my stories. A kitchen that is open and inviting, more of a gathering place.

A home where I don’t have to resort to wearing earplugs that my husband had to buy me (in bulk) so I can sleep in from time to time.

Where the boys can run around and compete in our family talent show. Where we can all have some healthy space apart before we reconvene for mealtimes and storytimes.

Where we can park in the driveway.

Where I can pause to notice a stubborn chin hair or two and pluck away in a leisurely fashion.

I know I am beyond blessed to have my fellow denizens ready to inhabit this future Home with. Am excited to dream and move towards that place.

For now, I’m just going to work on at least installing a full-length mirror SOMEWHERE in our current place because raising a toddler and infant is no excuse to never really see yourself.