Three summers ago, I knew our life would soon be busier than ever with a new addition to our family. I was getting our home ready for the impending arrival of my second son, while my mother helped me watch our toddler. The hospital bag had been packed, collecting dust by our bedroom door for nearly two weeks. "Today might be the day. Be ready," I whispered to myself. I was 33.
Last summer, my boys and I spent six weeks in Japan with my family. It had been four years since our last visit, and it was my youngest son's first time to meet his great grandmother.
I will never forget the smile on my grandmother's face when the boys gave her a hug.
One morning, my parents took us to pear picking at a local farm. We filled our baskets with fragrant pears and peaches right from the trees. The boys stuffed themselves with blueberries they just picked from the bushes, with stains all over their mouths. The owners of the farm offered us to try some of their freshly picked figs. It was round, fuzzy, and fit right in my palm.
And it was the sweetest fig I'd ever tasted. I was 35.
As I drew a picture of the figs, I thought of the sweetest fig that nourished my soul last summer. The flavor of the summer's end fruit still lingers in my memories as a reminder of the different seasons of life I've walked through.
So much has changed since I made the five minute decision. I left my family in Japan on a hot summer day thirteen years ago, and today I'm raising my own family here in America.
My heart belongs to two countries on the opposite sides of the world. I'm slowly learning to make peace with these two separate identities that I carry.
Why are summer memories always so bittersweet?