As children grow into late adolescence and early adulthood, I think all parents are probably curious about how their children have felt about their own childhood. Often children don’t think about it or don’t have a way to express their experiences.
To my complete surprise, our daughter Stacee wrote about herself and our family in her college essay (she is now a junior at UC, Santa Cruz).
Please enjoy her essay and also enjoy getting to know Stacee a little bit better. When she’s done with her finals this quarter, I’m going to ask her to start blogging with me. –Jane Ballback, guest blogger
Introducing Jane’s daughter, Stacee
by Stacee Ballback
Looking at my family portrait, you might notice a lack of consistency. My brothers, Jaik and Brandon, are Korean like myself. My Aunt Bea Bea is Mexican. My other aunt Pranita is Indian. And the rest of my family is Caucasian. This generates a lot of questions and a lot of stares from people. Sure, we’re all very different, but one thing we all share is a strong bond of love, mutual respect and support for each other.
I was born named Mec Sun Kim. Five months later, I was adopted and my name changed to Stacee Ballback. I can’t tell you much about the experience because I can’t remember it, but I know 1 started out a sad baby. I think being taken from my mother at birth instead of being held by her and feeling her love created an emptiness in my heart that remained until I became a Ballback. At five months old, I was given a new home and a new life. My mom and dad, along with my brothers, quickly filled the emptiness in my heart with the family I had been missing and needing.
After I settled into my new life, I became much happier because I knew I had a loving family behind me no matter what. The most influential people in my life are my mom and dad. My mom is the strongest, most independent woman I know. She presides over our family and we refer to her as “Alpha Dog” because she makes every final decision. My dad is much more passive than my mom and has a childlike tendency about him that makes him spacey and forgetful. My mom is organized. When we have dinner, she often ends up pulling out a typed paper with topics and lists of things she wants to discuss concerning vacations, holidays, household chores, etc. Needless to say, you can often walk out of one of her dinners feeling like you just got out of an extremely productive business meeting. However, all neurotic tendencies aside, my mom has taught me valuable lessons as I’ve grown older. She taught me to be independent and never to be a follower, but a leader.
My dad and mom wore both raised Christian, but they decided not to raise my brothers or me with any particular religion. They gave us the option but ultimately they wanted us to make our own decisions and come to our own conclusions, and I am grateful for that.
Any decision my brothers or I have made, my parents have always tried to help us any way they could. When my highly introverted, 20-year-old brother, Brandon, announced that he wanted to go to Hawaii for culinary school, my parents were instantly planning the vacation to Maui to see him off. It was supposed to be our final family vacation with all of us together, and it was, until after his first semester Brandon e-mailed home saying that he wanted to move back. He decided he wanted to be a fisherman or a marine biologist instead of a chef. My parents of course were more than happy to have him back, but this story just shows how my parents support my brothers and I making our own decisions to figure out what we want and need out of life.
My parents’ infinite support of us has left the door wide open for me and my dreams. My parents value experiences over objects and have always given me the thumbs up on chances to see the world. I’ve traveled all over the United States from, Alaska to New York, and throughout Mexico and Europe. In 10th grade I went on the AP World trip to Europe where I ventured through Prague, Vienna, Budapest and Berlin with my classmates. In the summer before 9th grade I went to a small city in Mexico with my Aunt Bea Bea to learn Spanish first-hand.
I am still unsure in what direction I want to take my career. I know I want to work with people and children, but that requirement leaves a pretty long list of career options. But I know whatever decision I make, my parents will be behind me 100%, and once I decide, if I change my mind and want to go in a completely opposite direction, I know my parents will support that decision too.