Growing Pains

My daughter came home from the gym and said, “I saw a truck with a large Confederate flag and Trump signs all over it. Why do we have to live here? Why did you move us from San Francisco?”

I chuckled. “Actually, Mesa, AZ is more like most of the country than not. In San Francisco, we lived in a bubble. And even that place has changed a ton in the past 15 years.”

“I want to live in a bubble!” She whined.

I get it.

It reminded me of the time I came home crying after a particularly grueling day of racial taunts in elementary school. As a 100% ethnically Korean-American girl growing up in Davenport, Iowa in the 70s, life could be challenging. Each day, someone called me chink or told me to go back where I came from.

My father reacted sternly to my tears: “Caroline, life is going to show you much harder times. Don’t be weak and cry.” His jaw grew hard and his face turned red.

“Go. Wash your face.”

And we never spoke of racism again.

And I’ve yet to find the answer to the question I had: “How do you convert racists into kind human beings?”

page 18 of “Chloe the Clingfish”*


Chloe did not think so: work, dating, money…it was all too much. She clicked the “add to cart” button but decided to hold off on purchasing the purse. She had 8 other items in the cart and made a mental note to revisit the website at home that night. She felt very excited and powerful which was a lot better than feeling anxious.


*a story about shopping addiction

Let the Kid Speak

I don’t have much to say these days. So I’ll let my daughter Ava have a few words. She’s been wanting to type her own story these days, while I give her sister Josie violin help. Next week, Josie’s story….Here’s Ava in her own words:

I am 6 years old. The date is 2009. I am in 1 grade. My teacher is Mrs. Jurkowski . who is your techer. My name is Ava. What is your name. I have many friends, their names are Brenna Sidney Sam Abagail Katie and that’s all. You guys can read a lot . I can play the violin. Can you. My birthday is May 23. When is yours. I have 1 sister her name is Josephine she is 7 years old. I was born in 2003. What year were you born in. I don’t know I only know min I don’t even who you are . you don’t know me do you?

This story I spechel. That’s 1 of my seckrets. What is your secret? I don’t know. I aspechily don’t know your secret. How meny people are in your family? I have a lepord geico at home Im at home now typing where are you? I like to make storys. My mom is making a story I think its called… I Do not know acsacly what it is called.
All I know is that shes making a story. And im in it! I am so eksided. I think im going to be great. Don’t you? Well I do … and im going to be a little girl my name is going to be Anna. Well you like it? Hope so. I want to ask you something do you like getting your face painted?

Today is Thursday. Today my grandmother will come. Do you like when your grandmother is coming? And she will go thrik or threeting. I am going to be a salit shaker. And Josie is going to be a pepper shaker. We are making our cotooms! Are you? I like making my costoom. What will you be? When my dad comes home he will bring my grandmother! I am SO happy! I havet seen my grandmother sins montes. All righ my dad is going to be heer eny second now wait wait. Oh darn there not heer I new I never hrde the grath door opning. Whith I thot but no. Sigh you know whishes never come ture. I wish I hadet said that. Darn my magic dint work. I new it hey now I know 2 tinings yay im lerning! I know lots of things! Now need ennything now?

Yesterday was Haloween. I got lots of candy. And yummy candy. Bursept the butterfinger. I don’t like butterfinger. Do you? Well I don’t. Allright back to the candy. Wait a minet I LOVE candy right so dose that mean I can have 1 just 1. Pleas!!!!!!! Il give you $500 so do I get my candy? Hope so and I mean it! Eeee ichy! Scrach my back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh ichy! Just kidding! That’s how I joke people! HAha so funny. Im not even lafing are you? I bet you arnt I bet you $500 for that one.