I blinked and baby boy turned one.
Last weekend, we celebrated his 돌 (dol: a Korean tradition celebrating baby's first birthday). I was running around like a headless chicken with preparing for the party (remind me, why did I think it would be a good idea to do everything ourselves...?) that my heart and my head were not able to process the weightiness of reaching this milestone.
As I jogged my brain of all the happenings this past year, in the midst of celebrations, my heart felt a strange sadness. "Joy", "wonder", "bliss" - these are often the words used to describe the magic of motherhood. But no one told me how much "grief" would be part of it. A grieving, knowing you'll never have that particular moment, that day, that stage, that season again. And so I have desperately wanted to catch them, document and capture them, encapsulate them into bottles to be stored in my memory's shelves, in the recesses of my heart to be cherished and revisited.
I've grappled with the idea of permanently gluing my phone to my hand as to not miss a moment, while my instincts have whispered gently, "Be present, be fully present." I've struggled with fully "momming" while realizing "mom" is not all of who I am. I've contemplated about "community", what it means, how it's changed, what I want it to look like. I've struggled with the fact that others may see my life and think "She's got it all", dismissing me of any "right" to share, but inside there are deep questions of identity, calling, feelings of loneliness, anger, jealousy and fear.
I've been at my parents' this past week, resting, recovering from all the festivities and the prepwork leading up to it all. While here, Y and I took J on his first visit to an art museum. Exhibits named "Nostalgia" and "Light" stirred emotions and the courage in me to write this post. We strolled along, reflecting on how with light comes shadow and how light brings things from the dark to the surface. Without darkness, we would not appreciate light.
I've spent much time wondering why I was struggling with so-called "dark" feelings in a season that has been so full of joy. But Henri Nouwen's words in Reaching Out spoke volumes to me:
J was born on Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday. We spent the actual day reading him books on Dr. King's life, listening to his "I have a dream" speech and I picked up my calligraphy brush pen for the first time in a while to write these words:
I leave to return home with heart refreshed and hope restored.