10 May 2011


Friday, Paul and I received a giant present – the shipping container that travelled here by boat carrying what was left of our U.S. belongings. We spent all of Friday and most of Saturday unpacking, organizing and reorganizing. Thank God Sunday is a day of rest. Today, I decided to take care of the crap that was waiting for a home, finding temporary residence on our living room furniture or leaning against a wall in the hallway.

I unpacked the last box today, which was a great feeling. In it, I found elementary school yearbooks and a couple childhood diaries. I remembered that I never committed to writing diary entries for any period of time, so I flipped through the pages to read about my life way back in the early 90s. The beginning of the first entry dated Sunday, May 27, 1991 reads:

   "Dear Diary,

    A couple of weeks ago, the most horrible thing in the whole world happend to my brother. He split his ear. It was the most worst thing that ever happened. Even though it's over, I still worry and cann't forget about it."

I laughed and I was a little sad. I also noticed that my diary entry didn't say anything about how Josh and I were fighting over a baseball or how I pushed him into the wall that split his ear. I also didn't include any of the details about my parents' reaction to the incident. Let me just say, they weren't happy. And I felt terrible. My brother was upset in the beginning but his battle scar made him feel cool.

Growing up, my brother and I fought all the time. Heck, we still fight when we are together and do not see eye to eye. I am sure my mother can attribute every grey hair on her head now colored reddish or blondeish to something my brother or I, or my brother and I, did.

Let’s see:
  • My mom knew my brother was hyper active while he was in the womb
  • My brother is likely the youngest kid in history to have braces – he was five months old and flipped his teeth straight out after biting down on the side of his playpen while standing and then falling to the floor
  • I broke my arm one summer and the next summer broke my two front teeth just after the big ones came in; my brother broke his arm just after that
  • My brother liked to do magic tricks that either nearly or actually ended with day-long visits to the ER such as shoving close to a dozen BBs from a BB gun in his ears and swallowing nails – yes, nails
  • I was a teenage girl who watched her mom spend hundreds of dollars on three proms, some homecoming dances and other functions
  • My brother and I never seemed to get along; even in our 20s we still yell at each other from time to time
  • We all survived a bitter divorce filled with times of worry
  • I went to a private college, told my mom halfway through that I shouldn’t be in college if I wanted to be a mom/housewife and I changed my major, all while racking up 10s of thousands of dollars in college loans
  • My brother joined the military and went to war – twice
  • I live in Singapore; my brother lives in Japan, leaving my mom to worry about her two kids on the other side of the world and wonder just when she will see them again

Every family goes through ups and downs. Every family has moments that define who we are as we react to them. I am grateful to have experienced a number of great moments, whether greatly positive or greatly negative, that have made me who I am today. And watching and learning from one person who was not only my mother, but someone who became my father, doctor, “Sam,” Hey you,” teacher, preacher, therapist, cook and chauffer has certainly made it that much better. I wouldn’t be here without you.

So thanks, Mom, for giving birth to me, teaching me, nurturing me, scolding me, disciplining me, spoiling me and for making me the person I am today.

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