Finding the energy for a family vacation
The flight from San Francisco to Seoul takes 12 hours, during which I was stuck in a small space and fed airplane food.
Finally, the plane landed in Seoul and I retrieved my luggage and got a taxi. In the mirror, I saw four dark spots on my face. People may have thought I had some cosmetic procedure, but they were scars from making pancakes.
This time every year, my husband and I travel to San Francisco to visit our daughters and I do all kinds of household chores.
I always tell myself I won’t do it, but I always end up volunteering to work around the house. And I have scars on my face to prove it.
A week before our arrival, the younger daughter moved to a new place. In order to save money, they packed the boxes and cleaned the old and new homes themselves.
After preparing for the move for several days after work, they were exhausted. “You are still young, and it’s your house,” I thought.
But after they left for work, I found cotton balls and a razor in the kitchen drawer. Kitchen utensils were in the dresser. I opened the linen closet, but instead of fresh towels I found shoes. They didn’t have time to get organized, so they put things away anywhere they fit.
So I got out of my bed and went to a Korean grocery to get mung beans, kimchi and beef. I soaked the beans in water, chopped up the kimchi and started to organize the drawers.
After tidying things up, I put the frying pan on the stove and poured oil to make warm mung bean pancakes for my daughter when she got home. Just then, the oil splattered and I got burned on the face. Just as I washed my face with cold water, my daughter got home. She dashed to a pharmacy and got an ointment. Thankfully, the burn was not serious and the spots will fade in a few days.
The older daughter came running and blamed her sister for making the mother cook. “Mommy, I am so sorry. I will make lots of money and get you a facial,” said my younger daughter, who can act charming when she feels sorry.
My two daughters are different in many ways. The older one invited guests on the weekend, but she is not making a big deal out of it. She will make some dishes and do party decoration by herself. As much as I am proud of her, I sometimes feel there is not much for me to do.
Dear daughters, it is okay to seek my assistance. Why make a fuss over some spots on my face? As long as you are healthy, I am happy.
It’s vacation time, and I am concerned about the children of working parents. Many working moms would love to make pancakes, even if they get some burns on their faces.
* The author is a guest columnist for the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Eom Eul-soon