Monday, March 12, 2007

Snippets of a run-on thought

My little guy has been sick for a few days now. Little viral demons attacking our house again, I suspect, creating the nasty runny nose and cough and frighteningly high fevers. After he awoke from his nap one late afternoon, he was clingy and still-tired, and I asked him if he wanted to stay with me while I started making supper. In his scratchy, weak little voice, he says,


Riding in his podaegi has been a comfort to him as long as I have known him - and before, I assume. I noticed in Seoul that many of the younger moms transport their babies in the latest and greatest strollers, but in pictures of my son out and about with his foster mom, he is always riding contentedly on her back in one of several podaegis. The first time I saw his sweet face, he looked at me from that same safe vantage point - tucked away against the warm, strong comfort of his beloved foster mother's back. So on this particular afternoon, I put my nurse-mom judgment out of my mind (strapping him to my body is not likely to help the fever issue), and do what seems best for his tired little body and spirit. He perks up a little when he sees his 'ba-pack' and then just as quickly lets himself relax and just 'be' - resting his head on my back, and his body against the strong, quilted fabric.

I allow myself the fleeting, obnoxious, pathetic fantasy that I can somehow turn back time. That I can give to him what has been taken away. I let myself find the tiniest bit of solace in thinking that perhaps this soothing relic of from his infancy has somehow found its way into a different time and place....this little boy's different life.

This past weekend I began and finished reading Jane Jeong Trenka's beautiful memoir, The Language of Blood.
I had feared reading this book for such a long time. I don't remember exactly where, but at some point I got the idea from comments here and there that for an AP to read this book would be incredibly damaging; something one would only do if already contemplating suicide.
I'm horrible at book reviews, so I won't even attempt. All I can say is that I was sucked in to this memoir right from the beginning. I chuckled in several parts at the details of life in the midwest (going off on my own little mental trips back in time). I felt angered at life's injustices - Jane's losses, and my son's. I cried. My husband picked up the book and started reading it page after page, pausing at the very parts I had also found especially poignant. Memories of our trip to Korea (an altogether too short trip almost two years ago) overwhelmed me again. This is an absolutely beautifully-written book and I am sorry that I waited so long to read it.
"We plan to return to Korea someday when our children are older."
If I had a dime for every time I have heard this statement, I would have enough money to jet myself and my son across the ocean with satisfying frequency. Okay, maybe not quite that often, but a lot, nevertheless. What's worse is that I, too, have proclaimed that we will 'return to Korea someday when our son is older'. I meant it, but still it has been nothing more than one of those vague ideas that is so far in the future that you don't plan for it. And we all know what happens when you want to do something but don't plan for it today, or tomorrow, or the next day. You wake up 5, 10, 20 years later and realize you've never done that one thing that you were always so determined to do.
So, this week I am opening up an account which will receive our monthly deposits/investments for the Korea travel fund. I've determined the amount of money that needs to be deposited each month in order for us to be able to take our first trip back to Korea within the next 3 years - and it is really such a small amount that it won't even be missed out of our budget. This is a promise I have made to myself and to my son and I will *not* 'wake up' 15 years from now and find myself sitting here repeating the same, tired, old, never-kept promise.


At 9:01 PM , Blogger Paula O. said...

Hope your little guy is feeling better real soon.

I know exactly what you mean about the often spoken phrase "We plan to travel to ______ when the kids are older." I love your idea of taking the tangible steps now to ensure that it will happen then.

At 6:59 PM , Blogger cloudscome said...

When my boys got chilled and miserable after too much snow and ice this weekend they both wanted warm milk and rocking chair cuddles. They both soaked it up when I held them like little babies. I think everyone needs that kind of nurturing when they are sick or feeling vunerable; some kids probably more than others. I am sure it helps them get well faster - just knowing they are held by that love is healing.

At 7:00 PM , Blogger cloudscome said...

And good job starting to save for a Korea trip! One little step at a time, that's how the big journeys get accomplished.

Also the book looks good. I'll put it on my list! You sure packed a lot in this post...

At 5:57 PM , Blogger ArtSweet said...

BRILLIANT. I too have worried that we would turn into those "when he's older" parents where "older" translates as "um yeah, someday" with a list of excuses to follow.

The savings account is a great way to plan it and make it happen.


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