Today is my daughter’s birthday. When I gave birth to her in Tokyo 11 years ago, I was determined to learn to be a good mother so I read many parenting books in Japanese. In Japanese, they have this expression that I like: 生まれてきてくれてありがとう/umarete kite kurete arigatoo, which means: ‘thank you for being born’.
In my country, Indonesia, this is a sentiment that doesn’t get said out loud. Parents don’t say to children: thank you for coming to my life. Instead, parents will say: be thankful that we do so much to raise you, that we sacrifice so much to send you to school. It never occurred to me that I was a blessing to my parents’ life. I thought I was merely a burden for them.
That’s why I think ‘thank you for being born’ is a beautiful expression. It shifted something in me.
Thinking of your child as a burden or thinking of her as a blessing in your life will definitely shape how you parent.
And because I’m learning Korean, I searched how to say ‘thank you for being born’ in Korean: 태어나줘서 고마워, which is also the title of a K-pop song by VIXX.
It’s just so easy to remember a Korean expression when it’s K-pop related.
My daughter doesn’t want a birthday gift so I guess we’ll just eat a store-bought cake and take turns in blowing birthday candles today (not because it’s a tradition, my children just love blowing candles). I’ll tell her ‘thank you for being born’. I want her to know she’s a blessing in my life. ###