Happy 3rd birthday son :)

A Curious Can of Warmth
3 min readMay 3, 2024


Hey son, happy 3rd birthday.

This past year, between your 2nd birthday and 3rd birthday, we’ve gone through many changes as a family. We welcomed your little brother while we said goodbye to a couple of your great grandparents: your mother’s paternal grandpa and my maternal grandma. Whether we like it or not, our family will never be the same with your new brother and without two great grandparents we lost.

Your mom and I spent three days helping out with your great grandpa’s funeral. Between many visitations and stories that your grandpa shared, I had a glimpse of your great grandpa’s life. He loved, cared, and prayed for his family, and it is no coincidence that your grandpa is willing and available to spend time with you as he, I presumed, learned from his father.

I have many firsthand experiences with my grandma. A few years ago, she recounted her life in great details. She survived the Korean War dealing with financial hardship and marital issues. Her scars from her struggles were visible at times, but she tried her best to be the best grandma she could be. She spent her last few years in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic and lived in a nursing home with strict visitation policies. It breaks my heart to state that she spent most of her last days on Earth separated from her family. One of her few solaces in the nursing home was looking at your photos; I was told her face lit up when she saw your face on the phone.

The death of family members felt different as we are literally birthing a new family of our own. Your little brother came to this world 6 months ago, and your mom and I have been thinking a lot about what kind of family we want to have and how we want to raise you and your brother. We realized the families we inherited in the forms of rules, explicit and implicit expectations, family history, traditions, value systems, relationships, struggles, and traumas have impacted our family far more than we would have imaged. We are inseparably connected to our forefathers by strings of legacies intertwining our lives.

In my youth with an inflated ego, I wanted to leave immortal ‘legacy’ for the whole humanity while compiling grandiose achievements. Although I still think aspiring to do great things with finite time on Earth is noble and amazing, with you in my arms, I can’t think of a better legacy than being a loving father who believe in his sons, who will eventually shoulder the same burdens as mine. Taking care of loved ones can be frightening and lonely at times. I want to make sure you are well-equipped with an unshakable truth that you are deeply and unconditionally loved.

Haju, I am happy and thrilled that I became your father three years ago this very day. Thank you so much for being an awesome older brother. There is nothing cuter than you rushing in to check on your brother. Thank you for being an integral part of legacy we want to build as a family.

Much Love,