I am sipping a cup of hot tea in a dark living room, lit only by our Christmas tree and my laptop screen. When we first put up the tree, our son Khai looked up in wonder and felt the various textures of our ornaments while being amazed by the twinkling lights. Since having Khai, we’ve become more intentional about building family traditions. Neither my husband nor I celebrated Christmas as children, and we hope Khai will experience the spirit of the season. Presents are unwrapped and stockings emptied. What remains is an abundance of gratitude for everything we were able to accomplish this year.
Combining my research conferences and personal travels, our family flew a lot this year. We traveled to Austin/Dallas, upstate New York, Portland, Florida, California, Philadelphia, and Hershey. Khai loved exploring each new town and introducing his palate to different foods. His favorite adventure was probably celebrating Christmastime at Sesame Place. He was thrilled to meet Elmo in real life and had so much fun riding all the amusement rides. We see plenty of rollercoasters in his future!
As a graduate student, research is a big part of my daily routine. I am so happy to have exposed Khai to the world of academia and have him be a pilot for our EEG study! My baby scientist was an absolute rockstar. I printed this photo on canvas and hang it proudly in my work office. 🙂
Books are like family members to us. Really. Khai loves saying, “dada, mama, baby, book”, clearly classifying books as part of the family. If he could, he would read all day everyday. To quench his thirst for books, we go to Schlow library often. We also have monthly book subscriptions through Literati. They’re a phenomenal group of developmental researchers who curate the best books for each child’s age group and deliver five to your doorstep monthly. Khai loves exploring a new theme each month. As for myself, I rely heavily on Penn State library to check out new books. This year, I read 30 books! I’m excited to join a local book club in 2018!
This year, we wrote a family mission statement with keywords derived from our family name LAM:
We actively demonstrate unconditional LOVE
We seek to AFFIRM one another
We are MINDFUL of the constructive environment we cultivate
Raising Khai is a very intentional and rewarding act. Our commitment to Khai is not only through our interactions with him, but also how we conduct our daily work. Dad sets an exemplar both at the hospital and at home. A recipient of the Patient Hero Award this year, my husband demonstrated care, knowledge, and quick thinking to save and improve his patients’ lives. At home, my husband cooks every meal and we encourage Khai to play in his play kitchen. We don’t enforce gender roles and want Khai to know he can do whatever his heart desires as long as it’s productive and non-harmful. Again, this commitment is not just a parenting one but also impacts our marriage. My husband is incredibly supportive with every project I take on. When I was busy chasing the golden light with my clients, he took care of Khai while cooking dinner. I am one lucky lady!
As I look back and reflect on 2017, I feel incredibly humbled with all the opportunities before me. I know 2018 will be a very rewarding year, both personally and professionally. I can’t wait to share more with you when the time comes.
I hope your family celebrated a wonderful holiday season and that you feel refreshed to fulfill all your New Year’s ambitions! Cheers!