To Be a Mother

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This is a picture of the four generations of women in my family: me, my great-grandmother who just turned one hundred, my grandmother who still does research for nursing and flies back and forth from South Korea to the US, and my mother who, quite frankly, watches over us all.

For the longest time, I felt like I was missing out on the whole mother-daughter thing. People and friends around me went on and on about how they were like best friends with their mom and I didn’t really feel like that. My mom and I had, in fact, not the smoothest relationship for a while. But then, God stepped in and how my mother has changed has been an incredible testimony for me that God exists and is real. But more than that, I realized that the women in my family are actually very strong and extremely resilient.ย 

None of them had an easy life.ย They went between countries, wars, family difficulties, learning different cultures and languages. And realizing that I came from a legacy of such strong women is just like wow. I’m related to these people?

And I mean, even just being a mother is a lot. I had a pregnant character for a short story and just researching giving birth was like okay I better really appreciate my mom for what she went through just to bring me into the world. Like dang. That’s insane.

But then on top of that, everything that my mom went through and then that her mom went through and then that her mom’s mom went through. Sure, we’re not a typical bunch. I can’t really fully communicate with my great-grandmother as my Korean isn’t fluent. And I think there are still some deep issues that are slowly being worked through. My mom didn’t grow up with a mom to lean on through everything. She didn’t get the luxuries that I did growing up. She got excited when I started learning to wear makeup because it was something relatively new for her too. It’s little things like this that just make me realize like wow, I’m honestly so incredibly blessed to be where I am and with the circumstances around me. I truly have no idea what the generations before me went through.

Even today. Today is Mother’s Day but my mom, the champ she is, spent it caring over her mother and her grandmother. And my grandmother moved to sleep next to and care for my great-grandmother in the nursing home. The love that is present and overlaps and sometimes even clashes among them, among us, is a lot to take in. Cultural differences, different perspectives, all of them because of a connection to a mother.

I’m not quite sure what I’m trying to get at, but I feel like it needs to be written regardless (and yes, I realize this undermines what I wrote, but I also believe that there is a point in just writing something and letting it stand).

This Mother’s Day, I’ve been able to spend time with my mother, her mother, and her mother’s mother. It’s a dynamic that’s steeped in history and culture and within that, there’s a lot to unpack. Quite frankly, I probably will for my senior project. But for now, I’ll let it sit in my mind and just soak it in.

~ajc

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