July 7, 2015, Prescott- One of the main reasons I am juxtaposing my travel posts with my thoughts whilst here at home is that, without family and community, there is only the mindless wandering of the unruddered soul.
Twenty-seven years ago today, Penny felt it was time to get to hospital. In the South Korea of 1988, every encounter between Korean workers and foreign nationals was first an economic one, then a human encounter. The woman who had been midwifing our child decided, on that day, that we were not helping her enough with her advancing in learning the English language. She declined to help Penny any further, and called a taxi driver to take us to an English-speaking Obstetrician, who would see to the birth.
Her parents were with us, but could not fit into the taxi, so I quickly hailed another for them, jumped into our taxi, and away we went, with the second taxi following us as best he could. My father-in-law’s frantic words, “Baby Hospital”, were apparently enough, as they arrived three minutes behind us.
The procedure went very well, and I was holding our newborn son up to the light, welcoming him to this world, three hours later. It was, all in all, a good life in Korea, and when we were compelled to return to the U.S., four years later, Aram was fairly well-grounded in two cultures. America was a bit tougher for all of us, but he grew up strong, and through the trials that buffeted the three of us in the 2000’s, and eventually took his mother’s life, our son emerged as a strong, healthy and amazingly resourceful individual.
Sometimes, I felt as though he was raising himself, but there was never a time, and never has been, when I haven’t had his best interests front and center. That I learned of those interests mainly by talking things through with him is the only way that ever made sense to me. Kids need steady guidance, but they have more on the ball than many of their insecure elders seem to realize.
The most inane aphorism ever is “Children should be seen and not heard.” I heard my son being told that, by a family member once, and I had to be physically restrained from hitting the individual. We need, pure and simple, to listen to one another, across generations.
Fatherhood is my greatest blessing, right after having been a husband. It will always be so.