Confessions of A Pastor's Wife

We all define ourselves through titles. Titles like who we are in relation to our families, i.e. father, son, mother, daughter, husband and wife. We define ourselves by our profession, banker, teacher, manager, doctor lawyer. We define ourselves by our race Asian American, African American, Jewish, Italian, WASP, ... and the list goes on. But what happens when one title, one aspect of who you are eclipses every other title, every other aspect? What happens when people judge you, interact with you, talk about you, only in relation to this one aspect? I know what I am struggling with is a universal emotion and though it relates to my title specifically I'm sure many others with the same title or same problem can relate.

I am a mother, a wife, a Christian, and a Pastor's wife. I am a lot of other things too but that last title defines me to the rest of the world me more than any other part of who I am. Don't get me wrong, the fact I married a pastor is a BIG part of who I am. The fact that I chose to serve the church and be a part of the church as my full time calling is a HUGE part of who I am. Do I have any regret? Absolutely not. I know I am beyond blessed to live this life and be a pastor's wife. But it's not all of who I am. I know I don't talk about being a pastor's wife much on this blog and I think its because on a day to day basis that is all I am to people. I think in some ways this blog has helped me to express myself, to show the world that there is more to me than this title. That I have thoughts, faults, insecurities, fears, struggles, and a sense of humor, parts of me that I know would never see the light of day or beyond the four walls of my home, if it weren't for this blog.

Moving to Kaneohe has been great. I have been falling in love with the congregation and the community. I want to build friendships with other women and others in our community. At church we'll have a great time talking to people our age, other couples with kids, but when I extend an invitation to have a play date or hang out, I immediately sense hesitation in their voice. I realize it's because they see me as the pastor's wife. They might be thinking,

"The pastor's wife is asking us to 'hang out'. What are we gonna do sit around and sing hymns and pontificate about this weeks sermon?? Is she trying to ring us into becoming a member of the church?? I have to put on my 'church face' outside of church??"

I don't know what they are thinking exactly, but I know their hesitation stems from the fact that I'm not just another mother in the same life stage, that wants to hang out... I'm the pastor's wife, a different species. I can't want to just hang out, talk story, and have a good time. Though I am very fulfilled in the company my husband provides me, there is a part of me that wants to connect with other women, especially other mothers.

I've been wondering why this bothers me so much. I keep telling myself "

Why are you surprised?? Didn't you know what you signed up for when you entered ministry and then married a pastor??

" I know this shouldn't be news to me. I know in the big picture its a small price to pay, but it still distresses me and I think it boils down to three reasons.

For one I'm an extrovert. Being around people has always revived me, energized me, and it has always been refreshing. But like poison to a plant the connections I try to make are tainted, affected, and withered by this title. People tend to see me with rose colored glasses, they assume nice things about me, because of my title, but that is all they are willing to see. To me it becomes a rose colored glass box.

The friendships that I need and want as the extrovert God designed me to be, the connections I need as a human being, are unable to penetrate through that glass.

Also, it bothers me because people assume I am extending an invitation because I have some pretense related to the church. People assume I am connecting with them because I want something from them. What could it be? Volunteers maybe? or more people at our service? I can't be connecting with them because I genuinely want to get to know them and build a meaningful friendship.  The fact that people automatically assume this about me is especially hurtful.

Lastly, it mothers because I am a mother. As a mother you always wonder how your identity will affect your children. I want my son and daughter to make friends and connections with other kids in the community as well. I wonder will they be put in the same rose colored glass box? Will people define them, judge them, and interact with them based on the fact they are pastors kids? Will they find themselves isolated and separated in some ways from their peers?

As hurtful and discouraging as some of these recent interactions have been, I am all the more resolved to not give up. I want to keep trying, keep persisting in putting myself out there, hoping to crack the rose colored glass. The image, at first will be distorted, and people may be pleasantly surprised and/or disappointed that there is more to me than this title, but that is the only way people will see me with clarity. I am resolved to make friendships, show people that I care, be there for them when they need me. God never gave up on me so I don't want to give up on them. Looking back in my life there are certain relationships that I didn't give up on. I wish I can say there were more, but it was only a few. In these relationships I would not let up, despite the good the bad and the ugly. I knew they were worth fighting for. I feel that same determination inside me. If I try, enough seeds will be planted and relationships will grow. If I try enough, the glass will be broken and people will see that I bleed, heal, and connect like anyone else.

On a lighter note. I need to stop putting them in one cart....

A Mother's Worst Fear

As much as the life of a mother is full of joy, it is always laced with a modicum of fear.

Before having kids your worst fear is something happening to you or your family but it's never hovering over your head, you just think "I hope that never happens." However, when you have a child, it's like fear becomes a permanent part of your conscious. Almost to the point where I look back and I barely think I knew what fear was until I became a parent.

I would put fears as a parent into two categories, chronic and acute. Chronic fears are the long term fears that are forever over your head as a parent. These fears are about your child's education, health, and their spiritual and emotional well being. Then there are the acute fears. These fears are related to situations, like when your child gets hurt, sick, or when you think your child is in harms way.

My worst fear is someone taking my child. I think part of it is because I live Hawaii where drug related crimes are prevalent. Some one I know almost had their child abducted by a drug addict. I'm always very aware of my surroundings when I take my children out.

Which brings me to an incident that happened this past Tuesday..

Another daechoong moment, I let my son dress himself which means theres a 99.9% chance he would wear his swim suit.



We went to the mall because it was really hot and humid that day. Hawaii was suppose to have been hit by a tropical storm but it ended up fizzling out and leaving us with incredibly moist air. We went to a little indoor play area for kids. The rubber playground complete with extra padded carpet was ideal for that day. Only it was majorly crowded with kids. With all the moms off to the side looking at their iPhones and the kids running around wild and jumping on top of each other, it looked like  scene from The Lord of the Flies. While my son joined the bedlam, I was getting my daughter to try to walk. After awhile the mosh pit got to be a bit much, so I had my son put on his shoes, while I attempted to put my daughter back in her stroller. My son was next to me trying to figure out how to get candy out of the gumball machine, then I noticed Kaitlyn's strap was stuck. I turned around for 5 seconds to fix it and when I turned around, lo and behold.

Joey was gone.

He was gone. No where to be found. I frantically looked in the play area but I didn't see his bright blue swim suit, he wasn't there. I looked in the perimeter, not there. Then immediately i think, "Someone took him!" I frantically yell.

"JOOOOOOOOEEEWWEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (Joey)

Bill Cosby was unto something when he said "Always end the name of your child with a vowel. So that when you yell the name will carry." Well said.

At that moment, like a pack to a wolf's howl, all the moms looked up from their iPhones, while their kids went along with the mosh pitting, just another mom screaming I guess.

From about half the mall away I hear my son yelling "Mom I'm here! Come get Ice Cream!!" He was in an ice cream truck ride.


Same truck. Taken a few months back.


I ran to him, my eyes wide with rage. He sees me and smiles and hands me an invisible ice cream. "Here mommy eat chocolate."

On the inside I was thinking....

"$*!%^$&$#%!@%#&*^&*!#@%$$%!!!!!!!!"

But I said "JOEY! I TOLD YOU TO NOT RUN AWAY FROM MOMMMY!!"

I grabbed his wrist, took him to the bathroom to give him a spanking but wouldn't you know it, it was filled with other moms and kids sooo.... that didn't happen. I raced them back into our car and started lecturing my son. I replayed the scene in my head over and over again. He was gone for only a few minutes but it felt like the end of my life.

Driving back home I calm down and suddenly memories of my parents swirled around in my head. My parents were pretty protective of me and my brother. Every person we interacted with, they had to know who they were.  My parents were suspicious of people, all people. I always chalked it up to ignorance and I resented them for it. It's because they grew up in a highly competitive dangerous society recovering from the ravages of war. It's because they are Korean and they have to worry about everything. Its because they don't see what a safe country America is. Now I see that it was me who was ignorant. My parents feared for us because they were parents period.

Though my son drives me crazy I know I love him more than life, that if anything were to happen to him I don't know what I would do.

On a lighter note... More evenings at the beach!












Epic Meltdowns: Mother and Child

For all the experienced (post terrible 2-3's) mothers out there, I have a question for you. What is up with all the epic meltdowns? How much longer does this phase last? Some advice as to how to deal would be great.

I know I am one post short of renaming this blog "Trials of Raising a 3 Year Old Boy," but this is certainly what has been consuming my mommy days. This past week wasn't too bad but the last few weeks have been meltdown-tantrum central at our house.

I know what the root of the problem for the most part, lack of sleep. My son on many occasions will wake up at 6am, will be bouncing off the walls all day with boundless energy, and sans a nap will still not sleep until 10pm! O and we try. Some days we throw the book at him, everything from corporal punishment to bribery and manipulation. In the end, my son is still wide awake and we are exhausted. Then after 3PM he starts his meltdowns. Everything from the weather, to the sound of his sister's voice will tip the scales. Screaming, crying, whining. It doesn't matter if we are in public either.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to take him to a "happy place" like the Hawaii Children's Discover Center. We have a membership there and my son loves it, I often take him hoping to tire him out for a nap. The only thing is, the place closes at 3PM on Saturdays, the "Danger Zone". When we are about to leave he pulls out all the stops. The Children's Museum, the happy place, complete with balloons and rainbows becomes an ironic backdrop to this screeching meltdown. This  time he had his meltdown right in front of the entrance. It was so ridiculous I took pictures.





Look at people ignoring the crying boy, it is a happy place afterall...

Lets just say everyone saw me drag a kicking crying screaming child, with one arm, while carrying my one year old daughter with the other, out the door.

This happens at pretty much any place he finds amusing. By afternoon, right around nap time, we will try to leave and there he goes again. I think my son purposely picks the most visible and highly populated places  to start his meltdown show. Maybe he thinks that I will crumble under the embarrassment. Don't be fooled, 3 year old's are smart.

Like this time for example. He had his meltdown right between Ala Moana Mall (the largest outdoor mall in the country) and Nordstrom.

As you can see, I'm not the only one amused.

Refusing to budge even though I say that I'm leaving.

 While carrying my daughter I had to drag a crying boy at the mall, through the parking lot

Honestly, these meltdowns alone don't bother me much. I find them funny sometimes and often think it's cute. I am usually able to remember that they are only this young for a short time. However I'm starting to realize what my buttons are, and I'm realizing that I am just as prone to meltdowns myself. My meltdowns are when, days go by of him waking up early and sleeping late without a nap. Over the course of a few days of this, exhaustion sets in, and I am ready for meltdown central myself. 

Take last Tuesday for example. Just another day after a few consecutive days of him waking up early and refusing to nap. 10+ times he came out of his room refusing to nap. Suffice it to say I was tired. I started to say childish things like "Joey, why do you do this to mommy? You only think about yourself!" As if a 3 year old could possibly empathize with his 31 year old mother. Then, in the afternoon we had a major plumbing problem. The bathrooms were flooded with toilet water, and our sink was clogged. My husband and the plumber were running around the property trying to figure out the problem. I decided to take our kids to the playground. While holding our daughter, my son was playfully running around, then I noticed he started to wobble. O no... don't tell me.

He pooped in his pants.

Not just any poop, an epic poop, to the point where itwas running down his legs and collected in his Crocs. So here I am, holding my one year old, no plumbing in our house, and a 3 year old laden with poop. 

I literally wanted to drop kick him.

Don't get me wrong. I love him more than life, but exhaustion plus this scenario was a recipe for a mother meltdown of rage. However God, in His divine wisdom, intervened. I firmly believe, He divinely appointed our next door neighbors, a loving middle aged Hawaiian couple, to be at the playground at the same time. The wife saw what happened and tenderly touched my shoulder.  The creases around her bright eyes gave away a full happy life, as oppose to old age.   Her concern and empathy made evident through her comforting smile, "I'm sorry mom, we've all been there." She took Kaitlyn into her arms so I could tend to my son. I got a hold of myself, grabbed my son and pretty much gave him a bath at the park bathroom and washed his clothes, underwear and Crocs. We still had to stay at the playground because the plumbing situation was not yet resolved. Luckily no one looked twice at my son running around in his underwear. I heart the country. 

Afterwards the couple walked us back to our house. She said she had 6 kids and now has 22 grandchildren. "Its tough sometimes, just can do what you can do." She said. 

We got home, had dinner at Zippys, then my son finally passed out at 10PM. Watching him sleeping I was reminded. Thankfully I evaded a major meltdown.  I realized in many ways, as an adult, I'm just as childish. I learned that I see so much of myself in him, in the same way I see so much of my mother in me. Do I have a right to go nuts on him when I'm just as prone to do the same thing as an adult? Hopefully I can keep it all in perspective for the next time around and avoid another epic meltdown.

on a happier note. Other highlights from last week:

Evenings at the Park!






 Peek-a-bo



Nice sunsets

Me and My Vice

We all have our vices. With the unpredictability of motherhood we all have that one thing that we depend on, count on, look forward to, the one thing that's designated for "me time," our proverbial weak spot. For some it may be a superb glass of pinot at the end of a hard day.

Or maybe its that immaculate- calorie-filled- diet -breaking- meant- to- be- devoured- in- one- sitting... pint of Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey.

   
 Serving size of 4??? YEA RIGHT!

Maybe it's disappearing into a dark room and watching a 30 episode Korean drama filled with melo makjjang...in 48 hour time period... while a naked baby scampers by (I plead the 5th on that one).


Five Fingers would fill that criteria. If you're thinking of watching, proceed with caution...

Though I'm guilty of enjoying some of the above. My day to day vice, the thing that I count on, can't live without, and never seems to fail at making me happy is...coffee!

You must think I'm crazy to dedicate a whole post to coffee. Though I'm sure I'm not the only mother to sing its praises in the blogosphere, it just goes to show how much I've come to need and love it as a mother. My mornings are crazy, I'm usually feeding Kaitlyn, then getting Joey ready for school and trying to convince him not to wear that darn Angry Bird T-Shirt again!! I get the water boiling, grind the coffee, put my metal and paper filter into my tea pot, put in the coffee and hot water and voila!



As I sip my coffee, the deep, smooth coffee aroma surrounds me like a force field. For those few minutes while I'm sipping away, all is well. I'm assured that I'll be awake enough to put my son's shorts on not-backwards this time, that I'll have energy to cook 3 nutrious meals, that I'll have strength to be the engaging, fun, have-it-together-mother/ wife that I want to be, and that I'll get my to do list done. After my  third cup of coffee I am energized ready to seize another day! 

 You'd think this daechoong mama would for sure go with the coffee maker right? No way! I am not daechoong when it comes to comes to coffee. A friend taught me coffee grinds are more like tea leaves, meant to be seeped for a minimum of 4 minutes. In a coffee maker the water just passes through the grinds without a proper seep. I did the french press thing for awhile but I hated the small grinds at the bottom of the cup, so I switched to the tea pot and I get my perfect liquid gold. 
I've been a coffee drinker since I've started working, circa 2004. But I was more of a just- need- a- pick- me- up- so- hand- me- the- Folgers coffee drinker. I never drank it out of pure enjoyment. My coffee palate was non existent to say the least, so I often desecrated filled my coffee with milk, sugar, and ohh goodness those dreaded awful flavored coffee creamers.  Now I love the taste of a good cup of Joe. For those who care to continue reading here are some of my favorite coffees from least to greatest. 
(Most of the below are 32b-40oz bags that can be found at any warehouse store. With the amount of coffee I drink that's how I buy them=)

Can I have a coffee review without mentioning a Starbucks coffee? Its almost obligatory isn't it? Starbucks will always give a can-count-on-good-cup of Arabica bean coffee. Its certainly not the best and even at a warehouse store it's a bit pricey. Though they swear to the contrary their roasts are bitter and strong. If made right the house blend will give you a decent cup. 

From my experience, where you get the bean often means more than the roast. I prefer Coffee Bean over the above Starbucks House Blend. Its a darker roast but the flavor seems smoother and more well rounded than the house blend. I actually like to make this coffee a bit strong and it satisfies by coffee palate while giving me a quick jolt to start the day!



Now I put this above the others because of the value. Its just as good, if not better than the above, its 8oz heavier and a few bucks cheaper. This is the Sam's Club Arabica bean coffee brand. I really like the espresso because it doesn't have that bitter taste even though it's a dark roast. Its a good quality cup of coffee. Great price and great flavor.

Now for a real treat my absolute favorite would be...
100% Kona coffee will bring any name brand coffee to its knees! Peets, Coffee Bean, Starbucks, Dunkin (obviously), Intellagenstia all bow down to Kona. O and don't be fooled by those 10% Kona blends, most of them are yuck bc they mix the beautiful 10% of Arabica Kona with 90% of junk and Robusta!! Anyways...  farmed on the beautiful hills of Kona in the Big Island. This coffee is the only coffee grown in the U.S. and the optimal temperature and altitude provided by Hawaii's unique topography and mineral rich volcanic soil, gives us the PERFECT coffee bean. It's one of the most expensive coffee's in the world. If you were to walk into a gourmet market and find a bag of 100% Kona Coffee, you'd think you were buying a rare bottle of Bordeaux considering it can run you up to $35 for a 7oz bag! Here in Hawaii however I can get a 7oz bag at Walmart for $9! Still really expensive but worth it!

Kona coffee is mild, smooth, yet has a rich aromatic coffee flavor. Before I had my first sip of Kona coffee I didn't know what good or bad. I was blind. Kona Coffee gave me a standard to measure all other coffee flavors, roasts, and brands. I thought there couldn't be anything that could beat Kona coffee, that is until I had....


What? Its the same bag? No no look closely... Kona Peaberry. From the same amazing Kona farms there's a special o so rare and beautiful deformity/mutation that happens when a coffee cherry forms only 1 bean inside instead of two. Each bean instead of looking like a half of a ball, it looks more like a peanut. This can account for only 2% of all Kona coffee grown, so you can just imagine how expensive it is. But its amazing. The roundness of the bean creates an unprecedented even roast that is the life source of a coffee flavor. It has a stronger, deeper, and richer flavor than Kona but so... wonderful. In the mainland it can run you up $50 a 7oz bag but here in Hawaii you can get a 7oz bag of peaberry at Walmart for $20! Which is still really expensive... alas its a once in awhile treat.

NOTE: If you are ever visiting Hawaii and want to buy Kona Coffee Beans 1) Always check the label to make sure it says 100% Kona. 2) Skip the ABC shops and the coffee shops like Honolulu Coffee Co. and Island Vintage. I highly recommend those coffee shops if you are actually buying the coffee to drink there but if you are buying a bag of coffee beans buy it at Walmart. Though those shop's farms have won cupping awards etc. from my experience  100% Kona bean is the same anywhere you buy it and at Walmart it's way cheaper.

So there you have it. My vice. My love for coffee. I know I'm addicted. I'm codependent. But I know that if it weren't for coffee this mama's daechoongness would go over the edge!

Are there any other mother coffee lovers out there? If not, what are some of your get-through-another-day vices?


Typical start to my day. I tell my son to do something while pouring coffee, he gives me the hand while my cup runneth over...















1 child vs. 2

I've noticed recently that a lot of people that I know are either having their 2nd baby or starting to plan on having #2. Its certainly not an easy transition. I remember when Kaitlyn was about 1 week old, going though the whole... you know, postpartum thing, and realizing that my mom was going to leave the next day. I broke down. I had a "What did I get myself into!?!?" moment. Now Kaitlyn is 10 months old and each day is an amazing gift, but it's still far from easy. I look back and see a clear difference between having one child vs two.

Basically before you have you first child you get the notion that there's a "right" way to do it. Goodness forbid that you are one of "those" parents that get it wrong. So when you get the news you are expecting, you go out and read all the books on raising kids, sleep training, nursing, what to buy, and of course, you read up on all the safety tips etc. After that slowly, every aspect of you life changes to prepare for the arrival of the baby. You go and paint/decorate the nursery, you might change the layout of your house. You also spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on all the furnishings and supplies. When your bundle of joy arrives he or she "is the sun and you are the moon". Your schedule, your body, sleep, everything is sacrificed to some degree and life revolves around the baby.

Then baby #2 arrives and its completely different.

Instead of having everything catered to baby #2 its more like, "Hey baby! Welcome to our family, take a seat. This is how we do things, if you don't like it... sorry." Since your set structure is already in place, baby pretty much just joins in on what is already being done. And forget about the whole "right" way of doing things... the new rule is whatever works!

Here are some categories in which my experience raising Joey vs Kaitlyn are completely different and certainly aid in illustrating my point:

1) Safety

With Joey we put out all the stops to make sure our precious son was always safe.  We went out and spent a pretty penny on child safety supplies and child safety gates.  We pretty much caged in our son like a zoo animal for... year and half. As you can see we set the cage so he could not access the TV cords etc.

Joey at 14 months


Joey at 14 months. Having so much fun in captivity haha.




VS. Child # 2 

Kaitlyn 10 months


There's no need for a fence! If she starts crawling out the door or the patio... we just bring her back in.  There's nothing wrong with her playing with TV cords.. just another toy!

2) Sleep

With Joey we set down some pretty solid ground rules regarding sleep training. Even this daechoong mama read 3 books regarding the subject. We had a set bedtime, no co-sleeping, and we let him cry it out! By 8 weeks we had a baby sleeping through the night. During his nap time we made sure he had all the peace and quiet needed.

Joey at 6 months



vs. Kaitlyn's nap times (the other day)

 He climbs up and opens the closet door...



This. Kid. He tries to get in his sisters crib. Kaitlyn is like,"Yay! Please come join me!"


Nap time is more like playtime for Kaitlyn.

 3) Food

I think I'm going to dedicate a post about this in the near future. When Joey started eating solids I wasted so much time and money on making organic pureed baby food. Then fed him each spoonful with love and care.
Joey at 7 months

vs. Kaitlyn... 
feeding herself.
Kaitlyn 10 months



Eating strawberries!




O the carnage...her shirt is messy? No worries!

4) Playtime
Joey had pretty controlled playtime. The toys were in order and he only got to play with one toy at a time.
Joey at 14 months

Joey at 18 months


vs. Joey and Kaitlyn Playtime...
No more control. our living room looks like toys r us exploded


Nap time!



As you can see there are many differences. Kaitlyn entering into our lives she brought a whole new dimension and dynamic to our family. Maybe when she gets older and looks at pictures she'll be like "why am I naked in all my feeding pics!?!?" but shes such a happy baby and in many ways, shes an even happier baby than Joey was because she has an older brother to share every moment.

When Joey was a baby, every time he reached a milestone (ie. turning over, eating solids, crawling, walking, talking), it brought on a wave of anxiety. When he started to turn over, we were worried he would fall off wherever we put him, when he crawled we baby proofed our place in fear he would get hurt, when he ate solids I went crazy pureeing vegetables in fear he wouldn't be healthy. With each step I feared that I would do something wrong to mess it up. Now he's three. Those precious milestone moments, when I should have celebrated... are gone. With Kaitlyn, I let go of my fear of not doing it the right way. I learned from Joey that I need to cherish every stage of this precious fleeting time. I celebrate every milestone. Each day I soak in the joy it is to be her mother. With your first baby you focus so much on yourself and what you are doing right or wrong... with your second you learn just to focus on them and enjoy each moment.

Featured on Asianmomblog.com!

After I had wrote a few posts I got an unexpected email from someone who runs asianmomblogs.com. She wanted to feature my blog and interview me! The post went up today! Here is a link to the interview.

http://www.asianmomblog.com/joy-yun-of-daechoong-mama-shares-her-blog/

Siblings: Love > Guilt

There's the perennial discussion... is it better to be the oldest or the youngest sibling? There are obviously pros and cons to both and it also depends on each individual family, but I think, and my opinion is obviously bias, the older siblings definitely have one thing on the younger siblings. 

Older siblings have to live with Older Sibling Guilt (OSG).

Being an older sibling myself in all my years of talking to other older siblings, there is not one, NOT ONE, older sibling that does not feel guilty, deeply guilty about something or... many things they have done to their younger sibling. In our my-young-brother/sister-gets-away-with-anything angst, at one point or another, we have certainly taken advantage of our poor credulous annoying younger brothers or sisters. I've been thinking about this lately looking at my own kids.

Now that Kaitlyn is 10 months old she and and Joey, my 3 year old son, are starting to interact more and more. As each day goes by I see they have an interesting dynamic. There are times when they play well together but often times he is rough with her. When we scold him sometimes he'll turn around and scold Kaitlyn, "That's not okay Kaitlyn!" When I see this, I warn him, "Joey be nice to Kaitlyn or else you will regret it later." He looks at me with the what-the-heck-are-you-talking-about look. O you will see...

There are several things I have done to my brother that till this day make me feel so guilty. Things that he doesn't even remember and does not hold against me at all. But I still know what I did...So heres my bag of OSG:

When my brother and I were in elementary school we were latchkey kids, meaning my parents were never home when my brother and I got home from school. Unfortunately for my brother, it was my domain when my parents weren't home.  This is when I would "cook" for my brother. I would open the fridge and just pull out whatever looked old. My mom was busy and in her daechoongness wouldn't clear out things in the fridge on a regular basis so there would be some gross finds. I would throw in all different kinds of banchan (korean side dishes) like meolchi (anchovies), kimchi, chunks of meat, old pasta sauce, and ranch dressing and mix it together in a large bowl. I would bring it in front of my brother expecting him to eat it, and he did.

My brother was such a kind sweet hearted boy and pretty much did anything I asked of him. He would look hesitantly at the bowl but would pick up his fork and eat it.

When I asked him what he thought would nervously say, "Its good!" Now, on occasion he would say things like, "Um.. its a little salty" (probably from the spoonful of sea salt I put in it).

My response, "How could you not like it after I went through so much trouble to 'cook' this for you!!!"

"Sorry" he would say and finish the last bite. For a drink I would take our squeeze bottle of pancake syrup and pour it into a cup... and he would drink it!

For dessert I remember digging through the fridge which was more like an archeological mission because my mom barely cleaned out the fridge. I remember finding a year old pint of chocolate ice cream, gross curdled crusty frost covered ice cream. I spooned it out and noticed it looked more like a brown sponge. So I put the scoops in a bowl of milk and presented it to my brother as....Ta da Brownies! "Yay" he would say nervously, "brownies.." He ate it all.

Ahhh! I feel terrible just thinking about it! Moving on..

One time when we were really young we lived in an apartment complex with a large parking lot. I was about six and my brother was about three. One time when I got mad at my parents I dramatically told my brother I was running away from home. He starts crying and telling me not to go. I want to see how far I can take this, so I continue in my dramatic play on how I can no longer live with our parents, they are driving me crazy (I was only six). My brother starts begging me not to leave. Then I  start getting out my barbie doll clothes and I start folding them and putting them into a plastic basket (I thought I was Dorothy or something). My brother, sees that I'm packing clothes and starts really crying. I head out to the parking lot and hes following me saying "Noona (older sister)! Don't go!" crying and crying. I get to the end of the large parking lot, about to hit the main road. I turn around and think "okie thats enough" and I say "Nevermind..." my brother is ecstatic because he thinks he changed my mind....My poor brother!!..Next...

My brother believed everything I told him. When he was in second grade I thought I'd play a joke. I told him that our family was actually incredibly rich. I told him that our father got in trouble with the law and the government detained all our parent's money for the time being. I said that we are one of few families on earth that owned flying cars. Then I said when 3 years pass the government will forgive all grievences and give us back our flying cars...

Kid you not! 3 years later my brother asks, "Joy when are we getting our flying cars?" at first I have no idea what he's talking about. "Huh??"... and then I remember. "Wow I just said that to mess around with you!" Laughing. My brother looks completely crushed. "Really? I've been waiting for 3 years for my flying car..." looks sad...

Okie so those are just some of my OSG moments, there are many others that I did not mention but you get the picture. When I think of these moments my OSG fills my heart and I feel so bad!

Surprisingly, by the grace of God, despite these moments my brother and I had a really close relationship. Many of my friends and people around us have said that they've never seen a closer brother/sister relationship. I think we were close because no one could relate with me the way my brother could. We were both Korean Americans in an all caucasian school. We both knew what it was like to struggle with our identity as Asian Americans and struggle with the dichotomy between American and Korean culture.  Even if I found other KA's that struggled like I did, only my brother knew the frustrations of my mom's daechoongness and my dad's sternness. In a time when we felt alone and confused we always had each other. When I faced racism at school and my self esteem was at an all time low, as soon as I got home, all was forgotten, because I was safe, I had my brother. I could talk to my brother about anything and all the stress from peers and parents would melt away. Not only that, my brother made me laugh. His wife disagrees, but till this day I am fully convinced he is the funniest guy ever. No one can make me laugh like my brother. As I said at his wedding rehearsal dinner speech "God gave me my parents to give me my name, He gave me my brother to help me live it out." Good thing my love > than my guilt =)

Me and my brother



Joey and Kaitlyn

 
Does not want to play with her unless that means....


 
 Throwing the blanket on her...

 Shes ok.


And he rolls over her...


Climbs on her. 


Kaitlyn loving every minute of it!

These past few days it has been very glaringly clear, we live in a dark cruel unpredictable world. I know they will have their share of hardships and struggles. When the world doesn't make sense I hope they will love, protect and be there for each other the way my brother was there for me.