4.17.2014

2.10.2014

Red Stripes

I was the youngest with 3 older brothers, the only girl.  Barely in Kindergarten, I got taken along on my mother's jaunts while my 3 older brothers were in school.   My mom seemed always to be in a hurry, clipped steps, sharp words.  I felt like an unwanted appendage.  She'd grip my wrist so tight all I remember is that pain while being dragged around.  I hated that.  Surely she didn't love me, or why else would she hurt me?  She left red marks on my little wrist.
 
When I was living in Korea in the early 1960s, it was a poor, third-world country.  I look at  pictures and remember...the dirt streets, children playing in the alleys, wearing only scraps, stray dogs wandering around.
Slums in the 1960s.  Photo from jellyfish1616.
As a mom, now I know it's the mama bear steel-claw death grip of protection.  Now I know that she was afraid of what every mom fears in the depth of her gut: to lose your child.  I held onto my son's hand and wrist, too.  It wasn't good enough to have him hold me - what use was that?  I held onto him and knew I wouldn't let go.

Lost children. Photo from jellyfish1616
How heart-wrenching even now, with the internet, the priority and resources of looking for lost children.  Back then, before people had phones, a phone book?  Was there a priority to find lost children? especially if they were poor? or did they accept it as part of life?  Did they even have the energy?  Back then, it was so real just to lose a child in the bustle of the open market.  And today, we have adult adoptees in their 40s, 50s, 60s, who were lost in the market.  Or left.  Because of the devastating poverty.

I think now with gratefulness the red stripes my mom left on my wrist every time she ran errands. She held me, the way my Heavenly Father holds me.  I will never be lost.