Spring New Shoulder Moon
Put SeoAh on a jet plane. Well, got her through check-in and to the TSA line which is the post-9/11 equivalent.
Driving back I got to thinking about her quiet insistence, voiced, that we are her parents. “We are family.” Yes, SeoAh, we feel that way about you, too.
In Gwangju, at the train station headed back to Incheon, she said, “I’m yours, now.” Meant the same thing, but it sure sounded strange at the time. She meant it in a broader way, too. Kate had left a handwork project she had been working on for at 3 years back at the hotel. Seung Pil, SeoAh’s brother-in-law, went back for it. We wanted to get him a gift. SeoAh said, “No. No. Family.” We got him a gift anyhow, but I took her point.
Yesterday I thought about the American term daughter-in-law. I used to think of it as a term of inclusion, a way of identifying a new member of the family. Now I think of it as distancing, an abstract legalistic way of defining the relationship. What SeoAh seems to embody is not a role defined by law, but by something much richer and older, the creation of a genuinely new family constellation. We have not a daughter-in-law, but a new daughter. Our first. Still integrating this, but I feel it more than know it. A Korean/American family fusion.
SeoAh called from I-75, on the way home with Joe. We chatted for a minute or two, much harder over the phone than in person. Joe told me about his adventure into the world of baseball cards and comics. When he was here over Christmas, he took a trip back to his youth by going through the baseball cards we’ve been holding for him since he left home in 2000. It reignited his interest and he’s gone on, thanks to a box of comics which contained a few early Marvel editions (mine), to haunt baseball card and comic stores in Vegas when he’s at Nellis AFB for exercises and conferences.
He’s serious. In June he’s going to attend his first baseball card/comic show as a vendor. He’s renting a table from a baseball card guy in Atlanta. In his usual way Joseph’s made a friend, in this case a friend willing to rent him a table next to his at this show and let Joe sell his stuff. The friend will advertise for both of them.
“I’m getting a credit card reader for my phone.” A Square. He’s talking percentages and mark-ups. I’m glad to see him with a hobby, something to take him from the often grim work he does as a weapons officer. Always planning and gaming out through exercises violent assaults on the enemies of the U.S. has to take some kind of toll.