by Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim
July 15, 2012, I dropped off my oldest child (13 years old) at the Johns Hopkins University CTY-gifted Summer Program at Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA for a three week program. This is his fourth year in the program but his first time enrolled as a residential student.
In so many ways, I was waiting for this moment. I was waiting for this moment to come for the past 13 years of raising my children, the moment of dropping off my kid somewhere so that I don’t have to worry about feeding, clothing, or disciplining them. I have been dreaming of dropping off a child so that I will be free for at least 3 weeks….at least one child less….which is a lot easier than having all three at home.
I have been waiting for this moment to come, so that I will now have more time to ‘finish’ my commentary on Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 & 2 Chronicles (WJK). I have been savoring the moment when I will be less worried about my kid who is again ‘wasting’ his time in the summer watching movies and facebooking.
In so many ways, I was waiting for this moment to come, but when it did, it was not what i had imagined it to be. A week has passed and I have not made any more progress on my book.
A week has passed and I am more anxious about my son eating right, sleeping right and just doing what is right.
A week has passed and I am worried that he is facebooking when he should be studying or sleeping.
A week has passed and my other two kids at home are giving me more stress trying to compensate for my oldest son’s lack of ‘stress contribution’ to my life.
Furthermore, a week has passed and I miss him more than I had expected. He is busy with classes all day, and extra-curricular activities until bedtime, and I find myself wondering if he still remembers his mom.
The mom who 13 years ago had to juggle studies, nursing, diaper changes and teaching/research so that I can have a family and a teaching career- which I still have to juggle. The mom who wondered numerous times whether I should be raising kids and staying at home, or not having kids and working. The mom who had so much self-doubt about doing both well or even doing both at all. The mom who wanted to escape from the daily challenges or academic expectations and motherhood demands so that the pressure to just ‘be’ will be gone.
So far, I have survived.
It is a difficult life for many mothers today as the expectations of them have changed. As we struggle to redefine what womanhood and motherhood are, let us accept these wonderful changes and modifications. As we live in juxtaposed situations and colliding worlds, we need to embrace the changes that come our way and just go for life.
Miss you my son.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim is Associate Professor of Doctrinal Theology and the Director of the MATS program at Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She is the author of The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology(Pilgrim Press).