My grandmother is a 100 years old. My grandmother has an incredible story. (I hope to write a book about it one day.) Not only did she give birth to 7 kids, but she fled North Korea before the start of the Korean War while pregnant with my dad, and lost her husband not long after her last child was born. Many years later, with over 20 grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, she moved to New York for a very important reason. She came to help take care of her youngest grandchildren.
I remember seeing her in our dining room, sitting next to the window, with her glasses on and reading the Korean Bible. Even though she barely went to school beyond 6th grade, she reads and writes in Korean. She often says how she knows nothing because she didn’t get to finish her schooling. Yet, I think that she knows much more than me.
I remember seeing her out in the garden early in the morning to water her vegetables and flowers. Every day, she would go outside, watering the seeds and watching them sprout. In the summer evening, she would pick the fresh lettuce and peppers so we could eat them with our meal.
I remember when she would yell and run after the groundhogs that terrorized our garden. Sometimes she took a stick with her to try to scare them away. Yet, they kept coming back, fatter and sneakier. They must have had a bigger family to feed.
I remember when she would make us hot rice and then put soy sauce and butter on it. The hot rice with the mixture of the sweet and savory sauce was a treat. It sounds so simple, but at times I long for it. I know it wouldn’t be the same if I made it. It tastes best right after school, made with the hands of a loving grandmother.
I remember getting annoyed when she would give me the bigger piece of meat and take the smaller piece for herself. She always wanted to give my brothers and me more of her food. I wished at times she wouldn’t put us before her. She was the one that should be getting the best piece of meat, not us. We didn’t deserve it.
My grandmother is the only grandparent I ever got to know. I’m so blessed that she lived with my family growing up in New York. She came to New York to help take care of my brothers when they were born. They are twins and help was definitely needed. Without her help, I’m not sure how my mom would have survived! I can’t wait to see her again in New York this summer.