A perfect day with my mother

I had an amazing mother’s day.

My mother’s always been a people person. She has great timing with stories and jokes. She easily entertains in group settings, and is quick to laugh. Despite this, we didn’t always get along when I was a teenager. As a mother, she could be extremely demanding and my adolescence would have been any parent’s nightmare.

Those days have long passed, and last Sunday I wanted nothing more than to spend time with my mother on her terms. After a family lunch, she wanted to explore Seattle’s downtown shopping district. I volunteered to escort her around, starting with a Seattle Street Car ride from our South Lake Union condo.

We wandered into Nordstrom, where I patiently followed her through the assortment of purses, then to the women’s apparel. I gave feedback about various outfits, but we mostly talked about the family, laughing at the passage of time. We spoke in Korean, somehow feeling closer for it.

She reminded me about how much I used to eat as a high school athlete, emphasizing the enormous amounts with her spread out arms and the volume of her laughter. Then, she saw an outfit on sale and excitedly asked me to help find her size. I obliged, searching through women’s clothes, not considering how ridiculous it may look.

Eventually, she lead me to the men’s section and asked if I needed anything. Mothers always treat their sons as little boys regardless of age. I tried to change the topic with questions about several of my cousins, but she was already looking at clothes for me. Finally, I convinced her that we should look at other stores as well.

Outside, the weather was gorgeous, perfect for downtown shopping. With the street musicians serenading us, she stopped by a cherry blossom that reminded her of Korea.

After a few stops, I directed her to the Nordstrom Rack. She was now even more focused on shopping with the prospect of saving money. I followed her about, delighting in her obvious enthusiasm. There, she found a pair of sandals that she loved — so much so she decided to buy another pair for my wife Shari.

I let her buy me a pair of shoes there as well.

Outside again, she pulled out a Starbucks card insisting we enjoy two frappuccinos. We got carried away in our good mood and also shared a roasted corn on the cob. We conversed about how healthy she and my dad are. Me, watching her reaction carefully for any telltale signs to the contrary. Happy not to have noticed anything.

Time moved fast. I had arrived a day earlier from London but didn’t feel any jet lag shopping with her. It was just a perfect day.

The next day, she texted, “I was happy yesterday shopping with my son and lunch together with my family.”