Tag Archives: family

Scattered to the four winds…

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On Friday my husband and oldest son traveled by sleeper car to his weeklong music composition workshop in Illinois.

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Yesterday morning my daughter and I dropped off Boy #2 at the airport at 5 am. He is now somewhere in Colorado on a pilgrimage with his Sunday School class. We are keenly missing him today as it is his 15th birthday!
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My girl and I made a lightning strike visit to Arlington to see my parents and to wish my dad a Happy Father’s Day.

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We tried to get him to smile for a special Father’s Day picture and this is what happened:

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My mother, observing all of this from her couch throne, commanded him to smile in her most imperious tone and this is what happened:

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Happy Father’s Day, Dad and Happy Father’s Day, Colin. You’re both my favorites.

 

 

 

Goal

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It will always remain one of the great unfathomable mysteries of life how two people who heavily skew toward the neurotic produced this cool customer:

IMG_9588It’s been a stressful few weeks. I’ve been waking up repeatedly in the middle of the night for no good reason at all and have been finding it hard to get back to sleep. When I finally surrender to the day and get out of bed for good, I find I have to unclench my aching jaws.

One of the things that was causing me a certain amount of anxiety were the logistics of this past weekend. Two of the three kids had soccer tournaments in two different states. With my husband out of the country, I wasn’t quite sure how it was all going to shake out. I ended up taking my daughter to North Carolina and leaving the boys in Virginia so that my oldest son could play his games in Charlottesville, and so that he and his brother could take care of our ever-growing menagerie.

At the end of a rainy first day, my goalie ended up looking like this:FullSizeRender 4

The next morning we set out for the third game. As we walked toward the field I read a text message announcing that after another night of torrential thunderstorms, the whole tournament would be decided on penalty kicks – five per team.

“Do you think that’s a joke?” my daughter asked.

“I don’t think so,” I answered.

We watched an official attempt to prep the area by the goal. Again and again he pulled at the water with a large broom…a Sisyphean task if ever there was one.

A mother of a teammate came up to me and asked if my daughter was nervous. We both glanced over to find her doing a goofy dance with a grin on her face, her arms waving like noodles.

“Guess not!” I said. My stomach, on the other hand, was roiling with nerves. And I wasn’t the only one who was anxious. The parents formed a tense, fidgety row along the sideline as we watched our girls lining up to take their shots.

As my daughter squished her way to the box, you could see water coming out of her cleats, which were already soaking wet after just a few minutes of warm up.

She dove for the first ball and landed with an audible splash:

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Photo by Forever Photography By Elissa 

She stood up, drenched with dirty rainwater and spitting out mud and bits of grass, but holding the ball she had saved.

Our cheers turned into laughter when she turned to look at me and shouted, “THAT WAS NOT WORTH IT!

Eventually, she took the fifth kick for her team. As she stepped up to the line, the referee kindly wiped the mud from her eyes before she took her shot:

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Here’s mud in your eye!

She got her ball in, but her team lost the tournament. Was my girl sad?

Nah.

I wish I could be as wholeheartedly fearless as this girl. I wish I could pick myself up after a fall with a rueful smile and a quip. I wish I could wring humor out of the most miserable of situations…When I grow up, my goal is to be just like my #1 goalie.

 

Weekend Snapshots 47

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Friday

My daughter and three of her friends are playing in a quartet together. On Friday after work I went to pick them up and got to listen to the last half hour of practice…

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We met up with my 15 year old and his friend at a restaurant for dinner. IMG_9178As the kids piled into my trusty old minivan after dinner to head to the movie theater, I said, “Hey, please turn a blind eye to the mess inside. Just ignore it all! Pretend you don’t see a thing…”

As one of the kids gingerly stepped over the mess to take his seat, he deadpanned: “Like…the balloon punching bag, a Holy Bible, a warm six-pack of Gatorade, aaaaaaaand the brochure on chameleons?”

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I’m not messy, really – I’m prepared. We could probably ride out the apocalypse in that minivan. We have reading materials. We have entertainment. And there’s probably enough food in crumbs and half-empty bottles of various liquids to keep us going for months. And if we happened to have chameleons during the apocalypse – we’d know exactly how to take care of them.

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Saturday

The next morning I did a baby photo shoot. My camera stopped working halfway through, so I had to finish up with my camera phone. I’m planning to post more photos later, but here’s a sneak peak:

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I had to dash home to get this girl to her soccer game:

Later that evening we met up with the quartet girls and their mothers and headed over to Staunton, Virginia to hear the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra.

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Elgar’s Concerto for Cello and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 were the musical highlights of the evening. The girls loved hearing their violin/quartet teacher play the violin.

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Happy Easter

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The five of us sang at four different Easter services at two different churches this morning. IMG_9088The Easter Bunny visited our house while we were at church and left an obscene amount of candy hidden around the yard.

IMG_3171IMG_3178IMG_3186IMG_3191IMG_3198IMG_3201IMG_3209IMG_3216IMG_3220IMG_3222IMG_3228Those beatific smiles disappeared as soon as the Easter Bunny’s mean, mean wife immediately confiscated aaaaaaaallll the candy and hid it away.

And then the poor Easter Bunny, who, after all that egg-hiding,  would have much rather sat on a couch reading a scholarly tome, tried to change the air filters. He ended up having to get four stitches on a very important finger…

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Past, Present, & Future Tense

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Past

A couple years ago when my dad was turning 80, my sister offered to take him anywhere in the world to celebrate the milestone. She thought he might want to visit a country he had never been to such as Italy or England. He said he wanted to go back to Korea. My sister and I accompanied my parents back to their native land for one last visit.

Our home base was Seoul, but early on in the trip we drove two and a half hours south to Yesan-gun in Chungcheong province to visit my father’s last living sibling. As we drove deeper and deeper into the countryside, I asked my dad to tell me about his hometown. Of the place where he spent his childhood he had this to say: There is absolutely no reason why you would have ever heard of it.

We drove past endless rice paddies and greenhouses until we finally pulled into a narrow alley. My father’s brother who inherited the family farm built a more modern house in the place where the old hanok used to be…IMG_3904

His widow (second from the left) came out to greet us. My dad’s older brother and his wife (in the middle) were also waiting for us at the house.

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I didn’t notice it at the time, but at some point during that visit, my aunt gave my mother a bunch of gingko nuts from the huge sack of them she had harvested from her own trees. I imagine they were from trees that were part of the landscape of my dad’s childhood. My parents brought a handful of them back to their home in Arlington, Virginia.

Fast forward a year…Last autumn I was telling my parents about the “Pratt Gingko” planted in 1860 near the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. When it’s in its full glory, it is a magical experience to stand under the leaves as they rustle in the wind and float down to the ground, which becomes draped in a shimmering coverlet of its golden leaves.

“Did you know your dad planted some gingko trees in the backyard?” my mother asked when I had finished rhapsodizing about the tree.  He had planted the seeds from that handful of gingkos they brought back from his family’s farm.

Present

My sister brought my parents down to Charlottesville this weekend for a visit. My sister and I were going to the Virginia Festival of the Book and thought for sure my dad, who loves books more than anyone else I know, would want to join us.

“I’m not going to go to the book festival,” he announced, “I brought the gingko trees to plant for you. Show me where you want me to put them.”

“How about in a row all along the back fence of the paddock?” I suggested, imagining the vision of golden radiance I would one day see from my kitchen window.

“Well, that would be ok,” he replied gently, “But…no one will be able to see them there.”

I had given the Wrong Answer: “Let’s put them wherever you think would be best, Dad!”

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I watched my dad struggling to break through the tough soil in the part of the (FRONT) yard where he chose to plant the trees. I hovered around uselessly, then went to join my mother on the front porch where we sat and watched.

When she saw that he was having trouble standing up, she nudged me and said, “Go! Help your dad! He can’t get up!”

I ran over to him and reached out my hand.

“Can I help you up, Dad?” I asked hesitantly, afraid to embarrass him.

He wouldn’t take my proffered hand and told me he just needed a moment to rest.

Reluctantly, I left to make it on time to the workshop my sister and I were attending at the Festival. I only had time to urge my daughter to get her grandfather a glass of ice water before I had to drive away.

Future

Later, my mother and I walked around the area where my dad had planted the seven baby gingko trees he had grown from seeds. My mama, the drama queen, always ready to devastate her audience with a toss of her head or a tragic line sighed and said, “As I watched him planting the trees, I realized these really are the last days of his life.” In the end, she told me that she and my son had to help him back to his feet and that my son took over digging the holes…

“One day, when the trees are grown,” she said as we inspected the tiny little saplings, “Your children will remember planting them with their grandpa.”

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Command performance for the grandparents…and one supremely unimpressed dog.

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Related posts: 

My Parents’ Journey

Visiting the Gravesite

Lumpy and Stupid

Lumpy and Stupid Visit the Country, Part 1

Lumpy and Stupid Visit the Country, Part 2

In Which Lumpy and Stupid Try Not to Disgrace the Family Name

Last Day in Seoul

Pssst! P.S.: My sister Annabelle Kim recently published her novel Tiger Pelt, a Kirkus Best Books of 2015, partly inspired by stories my dad told us about his childhood. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & Indiebound!