Noah is napping and I am missing and thinking about my mother. Momz. The “z” on the momz started out because I just wanted to spell it that way. And then it stuck. But I don’t call her “momz”. I call her umma, because that is Korean and although I have never said this out loud to anyone, I worry a little that Noah will not call me that. It’s not the kind of worry that I lose sleep over, but I believe it’s the kind that finds its way into my dreams. And I wake up feeling off and my head is full of competing analyses as to what it all means.
I know I’m not alone though, that’s the beauty of it all. Some of us are just wired to analyze everything to a slow death…
My mother, told me a lot of things growing up. I’ll share just a few.
~ If you using the tampon you gonna lose your virgin.
This was when I got my period and was still waiting for a ticker tape parade in my honor, for entering womanhood. I had already consumed Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. many times over and was fully expecting more than just a talk with my mother while she sat on the edge of the tub and I sat on the toilet with cramps. I thought for years that tampons were Korean virginity stealers and virginity was a pre-requisite to so many things Korean when I was growing up. I realize now just how sheltered I was to believe it all. Even at eleven.
~ If you coloring your hair gonna fall out all your hair, like Mrs. Kim daughter.
I did it anyway, just like I eventually discovered tampons and then subsequently lost my virginity. But there was that pause just like after most everything my mother told me, when she didn’t want me to do something. Having an under-aged daughter with dyed hair was a sure sign that your daughter was either a go-go dancer or in a gang or both, back in the Korean community we traveled the circles of. I never went blond though. It’s a tad skanky for my taste, and my mother would have been bed-ridden for years from the stigma.
~ If you _________________________, then nobody gonna marrying you.
This could actually be the one thing my mother told me, that not only trumps but encompasses everything else she’s ever told me. The massive mighty manic M-word. Marriage. Or “marrying” to my mother, just because she is more comfortable adding -ing to all verbs. The Chinese fortune cookie game where your read your fortune and add the “in bed” to the end to make it funnier? My mother’s version would be to add “then nobody gonna marrying you” to the end, if there was such a thing as a Korean fortune cookie. Although there is a Japanese version. Hmmm.
“If you using the tampon you gonna lose your virgin, then nobody gonna marrying you.”
“If you coloring your hair gonna fall out all your hair, like Mrs. Kim daughter, then nobody gonna marrying you.”
See? It works. I’m going to try it the next time I have a fortune cookie. You should too and see how it goes.
~ ~ ~ Thank you to Judy Blume for her words.
Photo Credit: Cedric