A new year, 2018

by Grace Ko in


As a child, I always followed my parents to 송구영신 예배, midnight service on NYE. We always lived quite far from church so we would leave the house and pack into the car come 10PM, give or take. I never knew the glitz and glamour typical of NYE - confetti and hats, sparkle and dazzle. There was no countdown or champagne or a kiss when the clock struck midnight. Rather, we would meet midnight in quiet meditation and prayer, reflecting on the past year and giving thanks. I grew up never having once seen "the ball drop", and for the longest time I didn't even know what that meant or looked like because growing up, I ushered in the new year often sleeping on my mom's lap in the pews. 

It's funny how in adulthood, you start to long for things you took for granted in childhood. Like home-cooked meals, piano lessons and even midnight church services. 

Since coming to Korea, Y and I have adopted a few of our own New Years traditions - one being praying through different topics and setting goals and visions. I've recorded these things and they've served as benchmarks to be reread and revisited and celebrated. 

During the holiday season in years past, I would carve out time to sit at a cafe with a big cup of joe, pull out my journals and planner and reflect back on the year. I would list out all the year's events, answered prayers and expectations for the upcoming year. But being a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) with a very active, almost-one-year-old child, that's an ideal far from reality. And I'll be honest. I sometimes long for those days of cafe visits, dates with my husband to the movies, sleeping in, being able to go to the bathroom without a little human being clinging to my leg. 

But if I'm going to be really honest, part of me has pushed this task of reflecting on this year aside because of fear it'll trigger too many emotions, that it'll be too raw. 

2017 has been quite a year. It started off with a bang, giving birth to baby boy, an answer to many prayers. And since, it's been a year of transitioning into motherhood. A year full of magical firsts that came and went too quickly, leaving me to have to learn to grieve while remaining present so more doesn't pass me by before I know it. A year of living through the eyes of awe and wonder of a child. 

But it's also been a year of tumultuous changes and learning to transition my heart posture. A year of raw, never-before-felt depths of sadness and loneliness. A year of struggling with body image, comparison and fears. A year of coming to terms with expectations and disappointments. A year full of goodbyes. A year often filled with regrets, "should've, would've, could've's". 

But in hindsight, I wish I could go back to those first few days and months after J was born and tell myself, "It'll all be okay..." I wish I could pat myself on the back and say, "You're doing great." I wish I had taken more pictures with baby, not worrying about how I looked or felt like a cow and told myself, "You'll get your body back." 

I can sit and dwell in the regrets of 2017, the things unfinished, things not accomplished. Like, how is the last time I posted on here eight months ago? What happened to documenting baby's growth and development monthly and sharing my journey of motherhood here on this blog? 

But that's also why my heart swells with an excitement for the new year. It's not a blank state starting afresh. But a continuing, a building on, a going from glory to glory. 

It's been a year of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but somehow it always ends with a wake-up call to more thanksgiving and daily reminders to "praise" (Judah). 

 Ho Chi Minh City, Dec 2017

Ho Chi Minh City, Dec 2017

Here's to 2018! Here's to finding my song again. Here's to a year filled with more laughter, good books, more travels. (And hopefully more blog posts.) Here's to fullness of joy!