life in the burbs

July 27, 2012 |  Category:   family growing up half life

We’ve been spending most of the week in the burbs at my parents’ house. My mom’s been doing a lot of cooking and we’re getting our fill of Korean food. Even Claudine is coming around to some dishes she’s rejected in the past. The kids take walks with my dad to the post office and he always buys them some sort of sugary treat (and tells them not to tell me). The evidence is on their faces, however, covered in traces of powdered sugar or chocolate.


I’m sure that when the girls grow up they’ll remember their regular visits to grandma’s house fondly. It’s not an experience that I had growing up. The one and only grandparent who we had a relationship with is my mother’s mother, who actually raised me for 2 years in Korea and then came to NY herself. She lived with us for awhile after my brother was born. She lives by herself now in her own apartment in Flushing, still cooking for the family at nearly 90 years old. While we were close to our grandmother growing up, we didn’t have visits to “grandma’s house” like the girls have.
During these visits, we get a taste for life in the burbs. Interesting enough, the girls like to have the run of the house, but they have little interest in playing in the yard. City kids. I don’t know…are we just accustomed to the manner in which we grow up? Even though I grew up in the city, we had a house with a backyard and a swingset. My brother and I were out there all the time.
One of the other main reasons we come to the burbs in the summer is to use the private town pool (Claudine figured out how to swim yesterday!!). It’s huge and is adjacent to a playground, tennis and basketball courts. During snowstorms, the neighborhood kids go sledding here too, but we we’ve never tried it. During the week and even in the weekend mornings, we often have the whole pool to ourselves, unlike the city public pools. It’s all very quiet. Maybe a little too quiet. When we go back to Brooklyn, it’s nice to see people walking in the streets, to see kids in the playground, to bump into neighbors…

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  • deedee July 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Looking at these photos makes me long to be a kid again when life was so very simple, and summers were the highlight of life. I spent long hot summers in Arkansas with my aunt and my grandmother. And though there was really nothing to do but sweat and look forward to my grandmother’s cooking, I’m glad I spent that time with her. Going on overnight fishing trips, and watching her clean catfish and pick vegetables from her country garden, gave me a view of life I never would have had because of living in the city. Your girls are fortunate to be able to enjoy these things, especially your mama’s cooking. Life is good!

  • John July 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I like the idea of an innocent, sweet secret between a grandfather and his grandchildren.

  • Sora July 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Congratulations to Claudine! That is quite an accomplishment. I was just going to ask if your girls had learned how to swim at that pool. My 5yo still won’t take swim lessons and is afraid of putting her head in the water. I think it’s wonderful that your parents live in the ‘burbs (close, but not too close 😉 and that you guys get a little break. Also, awesome to hear your grandmother is still going strong. I have nice memories of mine who also raised us for a couple of years while my parents were in the U.S. and we were in Korea.

  • Pink Ronnie July 28, 2012 at 7:08 am

    These visits must be so precious for both your kids and your parents. I didn’t have any relationship with any of my grandparents growing up, as we lived in Australia and all four of them were in Hong Kong. It warms my heart to know our boys have such a close relationship with all four of our parents and get to see them so often, whether it’s them visiting or us going over to their homes.
    That town pool looks so nice!!
    Ronnie xo

  • Camille July 28, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Beautiful photographs, as always. I love the mood of the first one… you are an artist Jenna!

  • Patricia July 29, 2012 at 11:53 am

    How lucky your family is to have the connection of loving grandparents. So many families are scattered across the country or have problems that don’t allow this connection.
    Looks like your summer is going well. Enjoy!

  • Claire July 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I’m SO grateful for such strong relationships with my maternal grandparents. They took care of me while my parents were at work until my mom stopped working when I was 9. I’m still very close to them and skype often. It gives me a certain groundedness, especially living in a hyper-young-ish city like NYC. I longed for relationships with people of other ages and was glad to find it when working with seniors at senior centers in the city.

    That pool is EMPTY. Best not go to city pools. What with all the fights and cops and closures…

  • Misha July 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Ah!! I’ve missed you, your blog and the sweet way you right about life. *been busy* love your stuff.

  • Lena July 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    i love your posts, jenna.
    i’m a little envious of your family being close. it seems like you get the best of both worlds. beautiful photos– as always!

  • Christine Witt (Brush Dance) July 30, 2012 at 1:01 am

    It’s wonderful that your girls are getting a variety of experiences – the city, the ‘burbs. I think that’s part of our jobs as parents – showing our kids that there’s more than one way.

  • Emma July 30, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Great photos!
    A very nice swimsuit and a very nice swimming pool! It is hard to find an outdoor pool in Paris and when you do they are packed!

  • Aya July 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Such a cute image of walks to the post office and secret treats with grandpa.