“Why did he smile every time he saw me? I like the enigma. Because my affinity and belief towards the world is the answer to it. Because no one in this world would hate me if that scary old man liked me.” – Park Wan-seo, ‘Yellow House’
This sentence was my way of life and my motto to remember and practice every day when I married a man with a child and started rearing an eight-year-old boy at the age of 40. “Let’s smile every time I see the child. Let’s smile as big as I can, so that he could feel close to and have trust in the world.”
I sent him off to school and welcomed him by the door with a big smile on my face. I smiled when he came out of his room or he needed me to say “There is no other thing happier than looking at your face.” People around me worried that rearing a child of someone else would be hard, but I just wanted to be nice to him when we started living together because he was adorable and pitiful.
I had nothing at that time. My dream to study in Brazil and become an expert of South America in my mid-20s was broken into pieces because I was not able to get a degree. I didn’t fit into the reporter job at a magazine company that I landed with much difficulty when I returned to Seoul in my mid-30s. The only chance left for me to achieve something decent was being a good mother to the adorable eight-year-old. Rearing my son to live his life with trust in himself and the world after leaving my nest. It would be the only achievement in my life. I was desperate.
I raised him with such eagerness, and now he is 25. Now I can say that being a stepmother is a great blessing and achievement of life, unlike prejudices in the world. Even now, I automatically put on the brightest smile in the world on my face when I see my son.