One lovely Christmas morning, after all the gifts had been opened, my unpredictable mother shifted into a secretive, whisper-like tone and said, “Girls (to my little sister and I), wouldn’t it be wonderful to know you had a beautiful place to go one day?” On that note, my father rolled his eyes and said, “I’ll be upstairs,” as he beelined it out of the family room to find refuge in his second story office. Tracey and I looked at one another in that unsaid knowing/mom is so strange/what now kind of way. “You know,” she continued without skipping a beat from my dad’s departure, “a place that you knew you had for yourself.” Oh, we thought, reading each others’ minds, mom and dad have purchased a get-away-house in the country!!!! Yay! She stares at us with her secret still kept, salivating at our anticipation. The silence and expectation are too thick so I break it with, “So, mom, you bought a second home?” “No,” she says, “even better.” Wow, we’re thinking, what could possibly outshine a vacation home?”
“Girls, it is a place with mountains, a view of the water and the best location on a hillside.” Mom is bursting with the element of surprise. She has surely selected the ultimate Christmas gift with careful planning and it is now time to finally unveil the gift of a lifetime. She has never been good with keeping good-news secrets but this time she shines. When she can’t stand it another second, she triumphs,”Your father and I have bought you grave plots!!!!”
“Whhhhhatttttt,” Tracey and I say in total confusion and shock. Mom is now giddy with pleasure at the assured thrill we must be experiencing. Tracey and I then burst into a total giggle riot. She is confusing our nervous reaction and continues. “We have 8,” mom gloats. “We have 8 grave plots,” I ask-there are only four of us-mom, dad, Tracey and myself. Ahhhhh…the foreseeable husband and two-children-a-piece we will be having. I hear my father groan from upstairs. He’s never been a fan of death-talk where on the other hand, my mother has even gone as far to give my father permission to remarry (as long as the new wife is not Korean like herself) in the case she passes before him. The security in knowing where she will one day lie is absolutely heavenly to her and to give that to us is the greatest gift she can give.
“Thank you,” we say in a questioning tone. She finally senses our disconnect and is flabbergasted at our lack of enthusiasm and gratitude. Picking up on her disappointment, we immediately shift and begin to grant her the appreciation and excitement she yearns for. So, here it is….
(featured photo with Elephant by Alice Popkorn via Flickr)