Photo: Recent family gathering in Korea celebrating ‘Parents Day’ on May 8th 2022.
I feel bad that I haven’t given them this opportunity yet – an opportunity to have days filled with fun, noisy family gatherings over the holidays. An opportunity to have a fight with cousins and rumble around the house screaming.
This is why, I am taking my kids to Korea this summer. It’s a little challenging as COVID is still a bad situation there but this will be a short trip. I hope I can give some of those ‘extended family’ memories to my kids as we visit with family.
I want to spend more time with my dad – I hope I can ask him how he felt when I was growing up. I want to ask him if he was worried like me. I want to ask him if it was hard for him sending me abroad and not being able to see me for many years.
Although I chose this career path and I love it – I don’t think I had enough thoughts about what my (and my own family’s) life would be like if I live abroad. I don’t regret on any of my choices – I rather feel I am truly blessed. However, growing up with the culture where ‘Hyo(filial duty)’ is one of the most important virtue in Korea – I am not doing it right as I can’t live near my parents and help them when they needed me.
I think many Asian cultures have this deep rooted family foundation in which the children take care of the parents when they get older. But for those of us who dreamed big and moved out of the countries we grew up in to search for a new life, an opportunity to build a better life, this is hard.
Yesterday I was talking to my mom and she told me my dad fell on the steps outdoor and hurt his leg. I wished I could run back to their house and help him visit a doctor’s office – but I can’t. All I could do was make a few phone calls.
These thoughts and feelings never came up when I was younger. They were probably planted in my heart long ago when I was a still kid – but it took more than 30 years to grow and finally bloom into a more mature, grown-up heart.