July 26, 2009

Amanda’s 16th Birthday

So, I have fretted over what to do for Amanda’s 16th birthday for several years now. In the back of my mind I thought I would throw a huge party or maybe get her a red convertible sports car. For a while, I have been asking her what she needed...she always told me, “artwork supplies, clothes, jewelry, etc.”

As time grew nearer, I began to worry more because nothing I thought of seemed to be fitting and what she said she needed wasn’t going to work either. I definitely can not afford a car nor am I a “throw a party person.”

Then I decided what she really needed: a father. Someone to be there when she did not know where to turn. So, I thought that I would emphasize the point...

On her birthday, I took her out to the Top Cloud in Seoul for a nice “alone time” dinner. The gift? I did not get the a car, jewelry or clothes. I decided I would give her a symbol. Something to mark the passage of her 16 years and a sign of status. I found her an eunjangdo (은장도) dagger.

An eunjangdo (은장도) is an ornamental dagger, that used to be worn by Korean women of rank as a chest pendant and a symbol of their social standing. Under the auspices of Confucian moral obligation in medieval Korea, the dagger served as a weapon to save women from personal humiliation or peril. However, not by attacking the assailant, but by killing themselves as ‘to remain faithful to one’s spouse’. Maybe a bit much for today’s standards...but you get the point. ;-)

Dinner conversation was lovely and time well spent. I would never had a chance to talk to her if I threw a party and would never see her again if I actually got her a car.

After dinner, we went back home and the kids had cake ready. We all stuffed our faces with chocolate cake and ice cream...

...everyone autographed her birthday book and I began to worry about Alexandria’s 16th. OMG! That’s in 2 years!

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