January 8, 2014

Becoming: A Letter to Myself

Dear Yuko,

I just realized I've never really written you a letter before. I feel like a dork writing this to myself, but I thought this might help you see things in a different light. I know you need that. 

First of all, I wanted to thank you for all the hard work you do as a mom every day. Raising a family is not an easy task. I see you get frustrated when the boys get fussy and the house gets messy. Finding calm in the chaos is not your strength. You raise your voice to the boys and that makes you feel like a failure. Take a deep breath and slow down.

No one is expecting you to be a perfect mom. Some days, the best you can do is to just show up and be there for the kids. And you know what? I think the boys like that. They just love being around you. That's a beautiful thing you got going there, even though it's hard to see it that way when you are in the middle of the day to day chaos. 

You cook dinner for your family every night and that really counts. The boys see you working in the kitchen and I think that comforts them. Just like you felt as a little girl when you saw your grandmother cooking in the kitchen. 

She walked in the kitchen at 4 o'clock on the dot every day, remember? Every, single, day. She would stare outside of the window for a moment as if trying to figuring out what to cook for dinner, while rubbing her lower back to relieve the pain from standing. 

She always prepared meals in silence. So, you stood beside her and just watched. Neither of you really spoke in that kitchen, but the air of comfort took place in there. The kitchen was actually never quiet. The sound of your grandma's chef's knife on her old butcher's block, the gentle sizzling of onions in hot oil, and the bubbling of hot water filled the kitchen. You felt safe there.

You know that was the gift your grandmother gave you. Now you are trying to give your boys the same gift, just because you know that matters. Call your grandmother and tell her how much you love her. Tell her you appreciate everything she's done for you. She taught you the ordinary things you do every day makes who we are. She taught you what it means to be brave by showing up every day without a complaint. She is your hero and role model. Tell her all about that.

And that blog thing you started last month? You are doing a pretty good job so far. I'm not saying you've written something mind-blowing, but you have learned to be accountable. Putting a decent post together takes a lot more time and effort than you thought it would be. It's a good practice for you. 

I know you are torn sometimes between spending time with your family and writing a blog post. You also get frustrated not spending enough time on writing stories for children. Don't worry. You'll soon learn to put your priorities straight. Hopefully. You know your family comes first and always stick to that.

The one word inspiration you came up for the new year, "create?" I love it. It's a perfect fit for you. But I also know something unexpected happened that stirred up your soul a great deal. The word "write" came to your mind out of nowhere (well, actually came from within).

When you heard the voice in your head, your first instinct was to run from it, as far and fast as possible. Well, this is not the first time you tried to run from what you were called to do. 

When a father of this famous pianist told you that you've got a gift for playing the piano, what did you do? You just shrugged your shoulders and walked away. When you took an drawing class in college, Ms. Barry, the art professor encouraged you to pursue art, what did you do then? After much thinking (over a glass of wine), you decided to pursue your Master's in Human Development. Brilliant.

Looking back, every time you saw a glimpse of your true design, you ran away from it and didn't even know it. This time you are not running from it. You are pursuing it and this is scary. 

You struggle to write. Trying to string words together often feels like a chore than a joy. Even having a thought of wanting to be a writer feels like a sin. You have avoided writing in the past twelve years, after all. You cried and complained it wasn't fair, because it rather felt like a curse than a blessing.

You have something simmering inside of you, wanting to come out. Just like a mother bearing her child inside, you have no idea what will come out of you. But you know you need to be a better writer so that you can bring forth what's growing inside. Keep on writing and don't be discouraged. That's the only way to get better at it.

Your urge to write doesn't have to conflict with your passion to create. Perhaps, the one word you really needed for this new year was "becoming." Perhaps you can only become who you are through writing and creating things. We'll figure that out as it goes. 

Write for the sake of writing. Create for the sake of creating. Don't craft things so that you can please other people, get attention, or be successful. I hope you find yourself, your unique design, unfolding in the middle of that process.   

This year, you are slowly becoming who you truly are. I'm excited you are going through this. Let's stop trying to figure out which way to go. Instead, start letting things unfold on its own. I know you have no patience and want hold that "baby" in your arms already. Be patient. You'll get there. 

Much Love,
Your better half. 


  1. oh, girl, this is SOOOOOO good! what a great idea, and how affirming! keep talking to yourself--and continue to share it with us. YOU CAN WRITE.

  2. btw, my word for the year is WRITE, and i relate to the emotions you expressed. i'm trying to run to Him with all my fears, and to release myself to the process. you are not alone.

    1. Thanks Jenn! You are an excellent writer and I know you will bless a lot of people with your gift. oxox!

  3. Hello, I am new to your blog and I am in tears after reading this post. I didn't know my grandmother but what you are saying, and the photo you show here remind me of my mother (she is japanese/korean and my father is Welsh). Seems like we have some things in common. My mother will be 85 soon and I am 48. I am thinking about how hard my mother worked raising us as as single parent after emigrating here from Korea. Your writing is absolutely inspirational, thank you.
    Warmly, D.

    1. Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your story with me. Reading your comment brought me to tears, knowing how challenging it must have been for your mother to raise you and your sibling as a single parent in a foreign country. Blessings to you and your wonderful, brave mother. oxox

  4. Truly a lovely letter. I don't think it's even possible to assess the real value of a parent who genuinely does commit her/his life to raising children in the home. I don't know if children will be in my future or not at this point. If they are I'll be marching into the kitchen at 4pm too. Such a sweet and genuine picture you painted with your words about your grandmother. I can see it. Your boys are so very lucky.

    1. Thank you, Stephen, for your beautiful words! I grew up in the kitchen and I'm now raising my boys in the kitchen :) It's interesting how all these little details from our childhood make us who we are today. I can see you will be a wonderful parent if you ever decide to be. Oh wait, you are already a great parent to Barbie ;) ;)

  5. Amazing how you can stir up such emotion for me with your writing Yuko. So beautiful. I recently came across a quote that spoke to me. "The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling." xo

    1. Hi Lili - I came across exact the same quote the other day and was thinking that I should frame it somewhere ;) So glad my writing speaks to you. The best part about blogging is getting connected with wonderful people like you. Thank you for visiting oxox


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