Gifts from Mother

“Did you get your hair cut?”

“Yes,” said Good Man.

“Did your mom make you?”

“Yes.”

“I told you to get a haircut before you left.”

Good Man shrugged, “If she does not scold me about hair, she scolds me about something else.”

***

Good Man opened up his new luggage, purchased by Mother. He pulled out homemade kimchi and dried seaweed. “Yummy,” I said, and pointing to the seaweed, “We can get that here.”

“She knows.” He pulled out myeolchi (dried anchovies). In turn, I dug deep in our freezer and showed him the myeolchi we still had from two years ago, when his mother brought it before our wedding. “Maybe we should throw that away,” he said. Then he pulled out a bag that felt full of liquid. “Ggaennip.”

“We grow that! Your mother knows that! Look at my garden, it’s like the only thing that’s growing out there.”

“I know. My mother calls me fat and then gives us a lot of food. She will do the same when you come home in eight weeks.”

“Call me fat? And give me food?”

“Probably. That is Korean way.”

I laughed. It is the Korean way, and I wouldn’t give up Mother for any other mother-in-law. “You’d better eat all of this when I’m gone, then. Including the anchovies.”