The last time I was home, you became privy to three vignettes about my father, a brilliant architect and loving Korean father (you don’t understand how much of an anomaly those last three words that can be).
2015’s visit showcases my mother, a woman conservative in her thinking and mannerisms but liberal in the ways she shows her love.
In contrast to the pasta of less than a handful of ingredients, my mother’s Korean dinners are always “just” a main dish and “just” a 찌개 (stew) and “just” a few 반찬 (side dishes) and then “just” a few more things. Each time she cooks at home, the serving dishes don’t stop coming.
My father had planned an elaborate golf outing for the three of us. Mind you, what I attempt with a golf club should in no way be referred to as ‘playing golf.’ But on the dawn of our tee time, it was just my mother and I heading to the course as he unexpectedly succumbed to a sudden onset of the flu. The other days spent traveling Jeju Island were exclusively ours, as he was unable to travel.
“Let’s take a picture!” – 엄마
“Okay.” – 인애, as she busily prepares the selfie stick.
“Do you want a picture of you?” – 엄마
“Oh this is all so pretty. Let me take a picture of you.”
“No, I’m good.” – uninterested daughter
The incorrigible mother decides that she’ll then take photos of her eldest daughter as she walks down an icy hiking path.
“Look at me! But look natural!”
“How am I supposed to look at you and not fall?!”
We have a tradition of saying good-bye until the very last minute at airports. These are fairly frequent for our long-distance family, unfortunately. In years past, the clear glass partition that separated residents from travelers allowed for visible hand-waving.
Recently Incheon International Airport decided to frost up the glass… but that wouldn’t deter my mother.
How do you not love a face… an eyeball like that?
I love you, 어머니.