A letter to my son

Kyle 2009 by Jae-Ha KimBy Jae-Ha Kim
jaehakim.com
February 12, 2010

Dear Kyle,

For the past month or so, you have been calling me, Mom. Not mommy and not umma. I couldn’t figure it out. Your halmoni said that you probably heard it on TV. That sounded reasonable.

Two days ago, we were at your friend Zack’s house. And I heard his older brother, Ian, trying to get his mother’s attention, and he kept saying, “Mom. Mom. Mom!” And I realized that’s where you had learned it. You had played there so often and heard Ian call his mother “Mom.” You say it in the same way that he does—but it’s even cuter when you say it because you aren’t even two years old yet and you say it with all the seriousness of child much older.

I was kind of sad at first that you stopped calling me umma. But you actually do still call me that—in the middle of the night when you are scared and crying. You cry out for umma.

Also, after months of resisting, you are finally calling your father daddy. You always knew who he was. When we asked you—in both English and Korean—where daddy was, you’d point to your dad. But it has just been in the past couple weeks that you are constantly asking for daddy. You say it so cute…Dah-dee! I know that it melts your dad’s heart each time you say it.

The other day, I filed your application for your Certificate of Citizenship. Even though you became a U.S. Citizen last year, the U.S. Government doesn’t automatically send you the paperwork. So it’ll arrive in about six months. I needed a copy of my own Certificate of Citizenship for your application. I was probably about 11 years old in the photo. You saw it and said, noonah, which is what boys call their older sisters. I thought you were thinking about your foster sister back in Korea. But you were so young then that you didn’t even know how to say the word.

Later, you saw a photo of your cousin Catt, and you said the same thing. Ahhhh—everyone says that Catt looks like me. And I think you think so, too. At dinner, you were sitting in your high chair and you looked at a Christmas card and said noonah. It was a picture of Catt.

You are so smart! I said that word to you just two or three times and you remembered.

You are a perfect little mimic. We have to watch what we say, because you will repeat it right back to us!

I am still sleeping with you in your room, because you get scared when you wake up alone. That’s when you cry for umma. Sometimes if I don’t get to you fast enough, then you cry for mom and then daddy.

One day, you and I will argue and you will get angry with me. You may even resent me and wish you had a different mother. Just remember that I let you kick me in the head and chest almost every night that you have been home with us so far. It’s a good thing you’re cute…

But even if you ever wish you had a different mother, just know that I will always be so happy and grateful that you are my son. You are my everything.

Love,
Umma

© 2010 JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved

Comments (11)

  1. Steven says:

    Unconditional love.

  2. Mary Alice says:

    This is how I feel about my daughter. We went through some rough patches in her teens, but there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. Thank you for sharing this beautiful letter to your precious baby.

  3. Samantha says:

    A wonderful essay of love that I’m sure your boy will cherish when he is old enough to understand.

  4. Jill Hurwitz says:

    OMG Jae…you have me in tears. My daughter is now 16. Cherish every day…

  5. Maribeth says:

    This is beautiful, Jae. So, so sweet. God bless your little baby.

  6. Julie says:

    Thanks for sharing this. It is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes! What a great mom you are!

  7. Jae-Ha Kim says:

    Just for perspective, my son is now 3 and he just patted my belly and said, “That’s mommy’s fat belly.” Precious. 😉

  8. Lynne Spires-Barr says:

    Beautiful! It’s amazing how these little people can fill our hearts with such Love.

  9. Janine Andrews says:

    This is utterly beautiful. I hope you make a book of these posts for your son!

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