I am 누나. This is the Korean word boys use when addressing their older sisters. Mika is my 3-year-old brother. Because of the 14 year gap between us, I recently became not only his big sister but a third parent. In high school, my parents did not give me chores so that I'd be able to allocate more time towards school work or personal time off. However, with the birth of Mika came the inevitable chores of changing diapers, feeding, bathing, and lots of cradling. These were the most joyous activities I have ever spent with anyone in my life.
Mika is why I stayed in California for higher education. Growing up, the idea of moving far away or even overseas to attend a university was very tempting. The recent introduction of Mika to life has made me want to stay close to home so that I could watch him grow. UCLA's acceptance letter meant not only an opportunity to be in a spectacular environment, but also the chance to help provide one for my baby brother.
Occasionally, I will answer my phone expecting it to be my mother but I'm greeted by Mika instead. As he tells me all about pre-school, or field trips, what he had for dinner, or what color his shoes are, I sob like a hopeless child. He is less than an hour away but when I can't hold him in my arms when I want, I feel as if I might as well be on the other side of the world.
I'm afraid that when Mika one day grows up, he will experience pain beyond scraped knees and jammed fingers. I see so much innocence, youth, and naivety in his eyes and wish we could never lose those things. I wish to revert to the years in my life when everything that mattered was nothing at all. When I look back many years from now, I will reflect this exact same way on myself today. I wish I didn't know this, either.
Mika is the sun to my universe.