Far Away, yet Closer Together

January 30, 2008
By
Far Away, yet Closer Together

When I was in the first grade, my father left to Korea. He was in the army and he was told to go there for one whole year. When my dad told us that he had to leave, my family, mostly my mother and I, were devastated. How were we supposed to go a whole year without my dad?

The days until my dad had to leave seemed like minutes, and it was finally the day he had to leave. My mom and my grandparents were all there at the airport for support, but I still could not handle the fact he was going to be gone for one long, long year. So I cried; I cried for hours straight because I just could not handle the truth. Then suddenly, I saw that my mom started crying, and then before you know it, my grandparents started crying; of course, this made me cry even harder. However, the part that made me cry the hardest is when I realized that my dad was crying. My father seemed like such a tough guy, that I was extremely shocked to see him cry; my steady, strong father was actually crying.

Finally, it was time for my dad to go. By that time, I was bawling and I felt like I was about to explode. I kept thinking over and over to myself, “How am I going to survive a whole year without seeing my dad once?” When my father walked on the pathway to board the plane, and when the flight attended closed the door, I felt sick. I felt as if a whole part of my life had just left me. My mom held me and said to me, “Stay positive.”

When we got home from the airport, we talked about my dad leaving. They kept telling me how “he will be back before you know it,” and how “a year really isn’t that long.” When my grandparents left to go back to Florida, which is where they lived, the house felt empty; it felt like a ghost town. After awhile, the awkwardness between me and my mom left and it felt a little bit normal. Both my mom and I knew we had to stay optimistic about this, and trying to stay optimistic about everything made things actually feel a lot better. Months went by, and my dad not being here became the norm. During the first few months, my mother and I got a lot closer; we did a lot of things together, but we still missed my dad. But we were not totally shut out from my dad; he called us at least once a week, and sent us pictures of Korea.

A year went by, and I was now in the second grade. I would come home and say “Hi” to my mom, do homework, and then do everything else like I used to do. However, after twelve long months, the best day of my life finally came: the day my dad came home. I was so excited! I put “Welcome home, Dad!” signs all throughout the house, and I even put a huge, bright yellow poster on our neighborhood sign saying that as well. When my dad walked through the kitchen door, I gave him the biggest hug I have ever given anyone, and at that moment, I honestly think I could have been given the award for The Happiest Person in the Universe. Out of this whole experience, I’ve come to realize that though it was a sad one, it was actually a plus. Because of it, my family and I understood what it was like to be away from each other, and that although life can “hand you lemons,” you have to make the best out of everything. Nicholas Murray Butler once stated that “[o]ptimism is the foundation of courage,” and I find that to be so true.

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