I missed going to book cafes in Seoul so I made a small book cafe in the corner of my kitchen. I could easily find one to visit here but it’s not the same. I moved a small book shelf from my child’s room and took a quick trip to the local library. My daughter and I borrowed books with pretty covers and brought them home to display on our book shelf. Then we made our own book cafe menus. My daughter colored the pictures of drinks and foods I drew. Then we took turns being a book cafe owner and a customer and ended with reading a cute book about a bunny and a mouse learning about colors in the real world.
The moral of the story, I think, is that colors are everywhere. Lily and Milo find colors in the boots, sand box toys, balloons, toy carts, drinks, and of course, crayons. Throughout their learning journey, they learn to take care of each other and to forgive. Life is never dull for Lily and Milo when they are learning together.
Every morning, I wake up looking for my colors, too. In my youth, I had all the freedom in the world to go look for anything I was searching for. Now with a small child by my side 24-7, I no longer have such freedom. Thus, if I want a day at a book cafe browsing newly published books and encountering sentences that will change my life, I now find a way to share my love of book cafes, or shall I say, the concept of book cafes, with my toddler.
And then comes a day like today I don’t have to go far to search for what I desire. A day when all things fall into place to create a perfect moment and you don’t even have to make a single effort to make it happen. It all just feels like a blessing from heaven. And it truly is.
A day when I feel contently, and perfectly happy to celebrate with my nephew, nieces and my child. A day my sister and I planned for these little ones to gather and have fun. A day in the world as we navigate together as a group of family and not as a single individual. Today, I am a mother, an aunt, and a sister and I suddenly realize I desire nothing else than to be those three roles that I already am.
Just a decade ago, I was so dysfunctional that my afternoon at burger king indoor playground with my nephew and nieces ended with my panic attacks. I was that depressed aunt, a sister, and a daughter that never got out of her house and had all the blinds and curtains drawn to block out the light of the outer world. Or I was that aunt, sister, and daughter that took off to a far away place all of a sudden when “an idea” raptured her heart and mind and disappeared for a while only to come back and close the door and the blinds again.
Today, I drove by the Burger King where I used to visit with my sister and her three young children. I am going to a place where we planned to have my daughter’s birthday meal. I can vividly see myself, my old self, storming out of the fast food place gripping my exploding heart trying my best to catch my breath. My hands are quickly going numb, everything around me is turning white, and my face is losing color. I am about to faint. I am running to my sister’s van as my refuge, to avoid the people, the energy, the noise, the light, and everything that stimulates me. Uncontrollable sobs take hold of me and tears flood my face. Then my body shakes like an earthquake going through and a few minutes go by. Then suddenly, everything is calm again. I regain my control. I regain my sight. The warmth slowly spreads, though my hands are still icy cold. My pale face finds its color again, slowly. In my sister’s van outside the Burger King.
My sister and I meet at Red Robin with all our kiddos. The children are all a bit older now and and we are too. My sister regained her financial calm. I have been restored from my mental ruin. We are on the palm of God’s hand secured and satisfied in His unfailing love. Life is full of colors again, so vibrant and so alive. I no longer fear public spaces. Most mornings, I can’t wait to start the day to discover what colors my child and I will discover.
Today, at my daughter’s birthday meal with my sister’s family, I discovered that I am a person of so many colors. A good sister, a #1 aunt, and a loving mom, but most of all, God’s beloved. Each day is a gift from God wrapped in rainbow colors. And each day is the unfolding of God’s unfailing love and protection.
My daughter is overjoyed as she opens the birthday gift my sister prepared for her. Her happy laughter is so contagious. Through it all, I am reminded of the true gift we are all opening together. It’s this moment, this happiness, this calm, this blessing. After all that we have gone through, we are finally laughing and enjoying this moment together in the same time and space. This is a miracle.
Well, at least to me, it is.
After the lunch, we all went to a nearby trampoline park. And the thought of being in a crowded, enclosed room full of jumping kids and blasting loud music did not scare me.