Thursday, June 19, 2014

Walking the Beach

My Korean mother, sister, and I walk along the beach in their coastal hometown of Ulsan, and it reminds me of summer afternoons beachcombing the shores of Lake Michigan with my American mother and sister. I am struck by the magic of this moment, all the miracles that took place that makes this walk, the three of us together, possible. After so many years walking Haeundae Beach alone in tears, wishing and wondering,today we walk abreast, three women with the same blood coursing through our hearts.

Omma tells me that when I was born, she she saw my foot. That split-second glance of heel and arch and toe is all she saw before I was gone. She says when I was lost, that was the only image of me she had, and she kept it safe in her heart--five tiny toes, like precious pink pearls. Today she watches me navigate the Sandy terrain of the shore and marvels, "the last time I saw these feet was over thirty years ago. They were just born and I thought I would never see them again. And now look! These feet can walk and run and have trekked so many miles that will forever be incomprehensible to me.  They have grown up attached to a woman I can once again call my daughter. And I am blessed to walk this short coastal path alongside them."

I have always thought my feet were quite silly. Too big for my body. Flat, unlike the graceful arches with which my American family is clad.  My toes are fat and knobby, like lollipops, with nails that can never keep a polish looking presentable for over a week. But through my mother's eyes, I now seen them for the miracles that they are. I wonder what new adventure they will take me on next.