Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Duck, duck, goose

Driving to a farewell dinner about a week ago, we passed a field of geese.  I love this time of year with its busy skies and large, mind-bogglingly airborne, chubby waterfowl.

Alas, just as my children get a kick out of the mallard ducks of Daegu and Pittsburgh, our family seems equally migratory.  Yesterday, Daddy headed back to South Korea.  He is needing to see his family, be assured of their love and wellbeing, as well as to investigate better ways to support us, discover more about himself, and find a healthy way to raise his sons.  It is love that drives him away and love that will bring him back. 

I should also mention here that this pattern is hardly novel in Asia, and not just Korea alone.  It is quite common for family to be separated by months and sometimes years as one member looks or leaves to provide for the rest.  It isn't comfortable, but it isn't rejection either.

In the meantime, we are also navigating.  Our migration this summer was good for us all.  The boys are more secure that family doesn't disappear; it just comes and goes like the seasons--perhaps exactly like the seasons because the big one is convinced that Santa Claus will bring Daddy back.

But I am reminded of the day Daddy became Daddy, of the inexplicable moment I saw love fill his eyes as he awkwardly took all four pounds three ounces of little boy and gazed at him closely for the first time.  "It was sweet bondage," he said.  Trained as an EFL teacher, I am always quick to correct misused words, but I think "bondage" over ""bonding" here might be much more accurate.  We are chained to those little beings, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

So our season apart has begun, and though it will hurt us all a bit, I have been watching migrations all my life, and I trust the goose to come home when it's time.


  1. I am so happy I read this Elizabeth. You described this difficult time so beautifully. the role of parents is so different here. So often, American family movies are based on the theme that daddy is working too hard; that his family is suffering because of his distance. In a sense, he is blamed for his choice. In Korea, it isn't his choice; it's his duty. The family knows this and would never dream of blaming the father. They realize he is doing his best for the family no matter how much that may hurt. These family movies just don't work in Korea. The context is way to different. I hope Santa does his best too.