7.11 MLK, LeBron, LeJeremy, LeKeith

Oh, Life. You can be devastating but also bewilderingly beautiful. Sometimes I wanna hold a grudge but you have that way of charming me back.

Last night, when Kevin walked in the door, I started blubbering. I haven’t cried in a good long while but oooof! From 9 am to 6:30 pm, I…I have no words. To give you a brief glimpse into the very long and agonizing, heart palpitatious day, lemme leave you with just one of my screaming thought balloons from The Day That Wouldn’t End:

Can Mommy just insert her tampon in a public bathroom without you two MacGyvering out of the stall onto the street!?

With Mommy running seconds behind you, growing two years older in two seconds, heart beating frantically, eyes darting everywhere?

Wondering if God forbid you guys had wandered into the *^&%ing street without me!?

Only to find you in the closest spot outside by the bathroom door, nowhere near the street but sprawled out on the branches of your favorite low hanging NYC sidewalk tree?

As if this tree weren’t a sapling next to a NYC sidewalk but a magical banyan tree in Hawai’i?

As if you two aren’t 3.5 and 21 months old but Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, chewing on a blade of grass, beaming about the getaway you just pulled off.

hanging out at their favorite tree last month

hanging out at their favorite tree last month

Then 11 other things followed.

Though I’m happy that you two are fast becoming best friends, just like we prayed for, I hope you realize that how fast your mama is aging is directly proportionate to you two egging each other on.

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I took a breather last night. Literally concentrating on taking some deep breaths as I hid out in our bedroom, shaking my head, wondering if I had a Korean drama white washcloth to tie around my head.

Then, this morning, we woke up to a brand new day. Birds chirping, the scent of summer. Blank canvas.

Micah and I took an early morning walk to the mailbox across the street to mail a birthday card. He blew it a kiss as he slipped it into the metal flap. I like to squeeze in a bit of special time with him after our gnarly days. Just to check in with my guy.

On the way back:

“Mommy, when I grow up, my kids will hold my hand like this, right?”

My heart melts into a puddle onto our courtyard. With his perfect little hand in mine, any residue from the previous day is washed away.

“Oh, Micah, yes, you will hold your child’s hand just like this and give it a squeeze just like this!”

“And I will be the Daddy, right?”

“Yes, and I will be the Halmoni and I will hug him and kiss him allllll over, just like this! How many little kiddies do you think you want to have?”

Serious. Thoughtful.


Today also turned out to be a memorable 7.11 Friday in the world of sports. Basketball news strangely reminded me of how my toddler’s (mis)adventures can be forgiven easily by their adorable shenanigans the next moment.

LeBron will be returning home to Cleveland four years after “The Decision,” after literally being burned in effigy and having an open hate letter addressed to him by the Cavs’ owner. My guy friends could not stop spewing venom at LeBron for the last four years.

I didn’t understand all the hatred. Why couldn’t it be all business? I’m not knowledgeable about sports but I do enjoy me a good feature story and today, the sports world delivered a doozy. LeBron’s unexpected return showed me that it ain’t all business, even in this billion dollar industry. He going back home! All is forgiven. No such thing as pride.

And Linsane LeJeremy will be in my hometown of Los Angeles! While he was not reviled like LeBron, he was buried in Houston’s rotation and not given a chance to run his style of offense. (Special thanks to Kevin for supplying that way technical sports sentence above for what I wanted to convey about redemption.)

We were saddened to see him leave NYC for the Houston Rockets but now, he will be in LA where the Asian-Americans will go buck wild. It will feel like World Cup 2002 when we Koreans of Los Angeles were jumping out of our Japanese cars to give each other tearful hugs, from youth to halmonis and halabujees. (I am fully aware that Jeremy ain’t Korean-American but c’mon, throw me a bone, I’ve had a tough week.)

In a totally unrelated baseball event, we also made a quick stop to our neighborhood Citibank thanks to a heads up by Uncle Anthony that Kevin’s beloved Keith Hernandez would be signing autographs. Micah spouted off with, “I don’t like him!” when he saw the macrocephalic, dopey Mr. Met coming our way for photo opps, so we became nervous that upon meeting one of Daddy’s idols, Micah would lash out with, “I don’t like you, Mr. Keith Hernandez,” which would have made it Daddy’s turn to blubber.

When I think of 7.11 next year, I hope to remember my early morning walk with Micah, LeBron, LeJeremy, LeKeith: all the kooky ingredients for a magical, redemptive summer day in NYC.

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Ball don’t lie

This week of Linsanity thanks to one Jeremy Lin, currently of the NY Knicks, has infused my already joyful (in the ordinary) life with an added dimension of merriment.  Sure, basketball is strictly a spectator sport for me ever since my brother made fun of my ugly form.  Feeling this amount of gaiety while simply spectating is hard to explain.  Perhaps I will try to at a later time but right now, I’d like to introduce my first guest blogger.  Hint:  Physically, he has been likened to a young Ron Darling and Korean Fred Savage.

Without further adieu, here are my husband’s thoughts surrounding Linsanity:

Around 10 years ago when I was spry and still had a modicum of athleticism, I went out with one of  my friends to find some pickup basketball games in the streets of NYC.  Young black teenagers taunted us with, “Get off the courts, chino.”  Eventually we got onto a court and played some two-on-two.  For the next couple of hours, my friend and I just dominated and never got off the court.  Those same teenagers calling us “chino” were now defending their loss by saying, “Yo, they games is NICE.”  Some of these kids just couldn’t believe they were losing and kept coming back for more, only to have their asses handed to them time and time again.  They left the court shaking their heads and with a minor in East Asian studies.

If I just wanted to write that I am a great basketball player, this would be a dumb post…and a bald-faced lie.  Because I am not.  I am OK and I was definitely better 10 years ago.  But the funny thing is when I said that we were beating teenagers, I mean freshly minted teenagers as in their voices had deepened just that very day – they couldn’t have been more than 13!  So here were these kids playing grown men, thinking they would surely school us.  In three or four years I bet these kids might have been able to beat us, but at that age it’s not a fair physical match up.  It’s really not about just skill, but also about being stronger, faster, and smarter.  There was no way these kids were going to beat us and no way they should have expected to.  But they did expect to win, and were utterly shocked that they were losing.  There is obviously only one reason they thought they were going to win – we were Asian and they were black. 

Obviously, this is not meant to be a shot against black youth.  It’s just a fact that most people don’t view Asian males as paradigms of athleticism unless you’re talking about speedskating.  Hell, I not only agree with that sentiment, I fully embody it – and I can’t even skate worth sh*t.  But there certainly is a lesson to be learned and it is the same one that Jeremy Lin is teaching all of us right now.

The title of this piece comes from the sage mouth of one Rasheed Wallace.  In basketball, it doesn’t matter what you look like or what you say or what the referees call.  In the end, all will be settled on the court and if you can make shots, you can make shots.  Ball. Don’t. Lie.  When it goes through the hoop, it just do.

Jeremy Lin has shown us in this past monumental week that ball don’t lie.  You can look at whatever statistics you want about his points or his PER or what his usage rate and offensive efficiency are.  In the end, if you know basketball, you know what a basketball player looks like.  And he certainly looks like one. And if he is going to continue to be successful and not just a guy having a crazy week, once again, the ball ain’t gon’ lie!  A great story is emerging with an ending yet to be determined.  All the hosannas being thrown at him today will, sadly, be gone tomorrow if he starts sucking or God forbid, gets hurt.  And if he continues to star, then we will have one of the greatest and most inspiring underdog sports stories of this young century.

All of this will be decided by one thing and one thing only – the ball.  And that’s the lesson we all forget sometimes.  We get so scared by appearances and tradition and stereotypes that most of the time we never bother to lace up our sneakers because we believe that there’s no reason to even try.  That’s why the underdog story is so inspiring – the person who so desperately wants something that they chase it headlong without listening to those voices telling them, and often reasonably so, “NO”, is the one we all wish we could be.  Despite all the doubters and the obstacles he has faced (which I won’t bother to list as they have been more than well-chronicled as of late), Mr. Lin kept lacing up his sneakers and allowing the ball to tell him about his basketball career.  Since the ball told me LONG ago that the NBA will never be calling me unless they want to interview a Celtics fan for a small feature story, I only hope I can follow Mr. Lin’s lead in my personal or professional life – to try even in an area I am not forecasted to thrive in.