Two eyes to see
Two ears to hear
A nose to smell
Two eyes to see
Two ears to hear
A nose to smell
One in five kids in America are living in households without consistent access to enough food. That is 16 million children. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. The campaign also engages the public to make ending child hunger a national priority.
“And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
– Hillary Clinton
“I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day, someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.”
– Hillary Clinton
I’ve lived an ordinary life. The only one of four children to be born in the United States, my parents immigrated and struggled and succeeded in creating a new and safe home for us. They worked long hours, learned enough English to get by and found comfort and community in religion. They raised their four daughters as best they could, prioritizing piano and church over cheer leading and parties. We had enough to have a warm house, new clothes from Sears, dinners at Pizza Hut and an Atari but not enough for hotels, a vacation to Europe, dinners at Red Lobster and SAT prep classes.
I’ve lived an ordinary life. I got a job as soon as I was old enough, went to state college and dove right into a full-time job after graduation. I married, had children and bought a house in the suburbs. My sisters stories all unfolded similarly. None of us are rocket scientists or neurosurgeons but we are all happily married, employed and live within 45 minutes of each other.
I’ve lived an ordinary life. I haven’t won the lottery or an Oscar but I also don’t know what a prison or a rehab center look like. I’ve gone hungry because of my slim fast diet in college and the sporadic years throughout my youth and adulthood of discovering the secret to a flat stomach, not eating. The only scars I carry are on my left shin and left elbow from a bicycle accident when I was eight.
Saying “I love you” is not something I grew up with. It didn’t end our conversations, console our boo boos or send us off to school. Perhaps it is the nature of my parents, perhaps it is cultural. Koreans don’t express affection that way. Phone calls end with the words “hang up”, seriously, that is the literal translation. But this is entirely normal. This is what I knew, this is what my Korean friends knew.
Remember me? The girl whose heart you broke at the tender age of 16? You hold a distinction in my life, the one and only to ever break my heart. Sure, other guys “dumped” me but we were hardly dating so I hardly noticed. But you, you were my first “love.” Although we never said those words to eachother when I look back what was it if not love? Puppy love perhaps. Deep deep infatuation. And truck loads of chemistry, the kind of chemistry that leaves you spinning in circles. Whatever it was we had, you broke it. You needed to fly, you were young and your ego mattered more to you than me so you cut yourself free.
I remember just like it was yesterday, sitting in that Chinese restaurant in Bethesda, watching my tears fall into my beef pepper steak while you held my hand across the table, trying to console me. Our attentive waiter stopped by every few minutes, confused as to why I was crying, does she not like her food? he thought. Why the hell did we still go out to eat after you dumped me? I think you paid, at least you did that.
I cried over you for days, hanging onto the hope you would change your mind. You finally did but it was too late. You were jealous of every boyfriend I had after, of every guy I flirted with and who flirted with me and you deserved it all.
an intense but relatively shallow romantic attachment, typically associated with adolescents.
Our parents are our role models for how to be a student, a sibling, a parent and a spouse. Our parents provide our first understanding of why people do and say the things they do, how to find the good and avoid the bad and how to be our best while managing our worst. They fill in the holes that school and church don’t address and reinforce the important parts like don’t fall asleep with gum in your mouth and always stand by your family. Parents teach us what love is, how it should feel, what it should look like and what it doesn’t look like. I thought my parents did this unaware, they were simply living their lives finding a way to get by. But now that I am a parent I know that every moment is a moment to show my kids what is love. They practiced great restraint to limit their fighting in front of us and although they weren’t the hugging and kissing kind their words and actions showed their love and respect for each other everyday. My Mom packed my Dad’s lunch every evening, the same lunch, everyday. There was always a warm meal, even in the mornings, and the kitchen was always clean. My Dad fixed the cars, mowed the lawn and refinished a room in our basement. He answered the mail and paid the bills. She made sure the plants were watered.
The invisible, the day to day, fulfilling the unasked.
49 years later, they commiserate on their aging while trying to understand my Dad’s new iPhone. She repeats what I say when my Dad can’t hear me and gives him a playful jab. And when I ask him to give her a kiss he scoffs then laughs. I did say they aren’t the hugging and kissing kind.
Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,
Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose looming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,
and once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.
“The Wild Rose” by Wendell Berry
Some like to think of life as full of mystery, surprises, the unexpected. While life will occasionally toss you a surprise or two; a pregnancy, a cross-country move, a divorce, a death you will find an incredible ability to absorb and adapt.
Memories from childhood are tricky because they feel like dreams leaving us to wonder, did it really happen? One distinct memory I have is being with my Mom and Dad at a friend’s house. For some reason on this night I was the only child with them. With dinner done I was ready to go home but the lights went off, furniture was moved and dancing began. Sitting in my Mom’s friend’s lap I observed my parents as I rarely ever saw them, laughing and dancing.
This is a special memory of my Mother because I have no other that are like this. In the following years my Mother dove deeper and deeper into her religion leaving no trace of her former self. She is so wholly defined by her beliefs that its hard to distinguish the woman from her religion.
But once upon a time she was more like me.
I might not have inherited her eyes or nose but I inherited her sense of humor and big, beautiful laugh, the kind that echos and startles, annoying those that are not laughing with you and cracking up those that are.