Alayna’s 돌잔치 (Doljanchi). Turning one.
Watching our daughter grow, I feel both dread and joy. I know this world will not be easy on her. I want to protect her from everything. The headlines make me insane for her safety. And already I can see her voice, her strength, her laughter, her resolve. I know she will be okay too.
I can see more and more of myself in the way she moves, laughs, talks (tries to talk). Sometimes that worries me. I see her mother too. That relieves me a bit. But I also see something uniquely belonging to our daughter. She will be the best of us. And something more.
I read these grown-up books to her (in between the children’s books) and I talk to her about culture, politics, race, faith, mental health (in between the dancing and animal noises and magic tricks). She can’t comprehend it right now. But one day it will become conversation. One that was always there.
They say children end up teaching their parents. I think it’s happening already. She’s teaching me it’s serious stuff to raise a child. But not to take myself so seriously. She’s teaching me my that my heart was bigger than I knew, my guts went even deeper than I could see. She’s teaching me she is not an extension of me but her own person, and today I hold her tight but tomorrow she will fly free. Until tomorrow, I hold tight.
[Photography by Hoon Park]