Traditions and The Small Things

by Grace Ko


Sometimes I am asked what I miss most when my parents are far far away in Korea. Obviously what I miss most is them and their presence. But I often daydream of enjoying the small things together with them- the day-to-day "mundane" things, like making a run to the grocery store together, eating dinner together. The waking up and walking downstairs to see my parents sitting in our living room having their morning coffee and joining them. My dad's almost-daily bagel runs, which means a warm bagel waiting for me. All of us squished into our sofa watching korean shows together. 

It's those things that I miss the most and it's those things that I cherish the most. And my family has made a few traditions out of these "small things". 

Maybe that's why I've become quite a lover of traditions. There's something quite comforting about the predictability of them and something quite exciting about the anticipation of them. 

This visit from my parents was filled with respecting traditions, building new ones and a bit of spontaneity mixed in between. 

 

My dad and I have made a tradition of playing at least one round of golf together. And plenty of tennis. 

 Beautiful Farmstead Golf & Country Club. Brought back memories of when I used to play there in high school. 

Beautiful Farmstead Golf & Country Club. Brought back memories of when I used to play there in high school. 

 Tradition of watching Wimbledon in the morning and playing tennis with dad afterwards. 

Tradition of watching Wimbledon in the morning and playing tennis with dad afterwards. 

 This year, my dad and I played together in our church's co-ed tennis tournament for the first time! 

This year, my dad and I played together in our church's co-ed tennis tournament for the first time! 

Going to a Yankees game has become a tradition we've continued on this summer.

My parents and I have made a tradition out of going to garage sales and used bookstores, searching far and wide for the "diamonds in the rough" and reveling in finding treasures together.

 We enjoyed a town-wide garage sale and found treasures. I snagged  three books ($1 a piece)  and my mom found more toys and figurines for her sandplay therapy. 

We enjoyed a town-wide garage sale and found treasures. I snagged three books ($1 a piece) and my mom found more toys and figurines for her sandplay therapy. 

There were spontaneous evening outings to the golf range and batting cages. 

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There may have even been a spontaneous golf lesson that happened in our very own backyard. 

 Father-in-law & son-in-law impromptu golf lesson

Father-in-law & son-in-law impromptu golf lesson

We enjoyed spontaneous trips for some froyo. 

 Yup. My mom and I are twinning while taking a break from shopping in the scorching heat. 

Yup. My mom and I are twinning while taking a break from shopping in the scorching heat. 

 An impromptu photo opportunity after grocery shopping

An impromptu photo opportunity after grocery shopping

We even cherished a moment outside bathing the pup. 

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My parents left this morning to return to Korea. I remember the "twice a year" dropping off of my dad at Rodeo Plaza. He would then take the Asiana Airlines shuttle bus to JFK airport to return to Korea alone. I remember thinking, "I'm sure this will get easier as I get older".  It has been 15 years of practicing visits to the airport, saying "goodbye" and parting ways. Yet saying goodbye never gets easier. If anything, it has only gotten harder, as I am reminded of the many many previous goodbyes.

But a family tradition has been to have a mini family worship service before saying goodbye. My dad started this tradition, where we would end our visit together in prayer and worship. In more recent times, he has asked us to say a few words to each other. This is always (always) a tearful event but I believe it helps us all grieve each other's absence and cherish the moments shared together. 

And now I'm thankful that this blog has become a place where I can hold these precious memories.