Thank You, Mom This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Dear Mommy:

This morning, I woke up really late (noon, to be exact), knowing that it’s summer, a time when laziness can be set loose. Lethargically, I walked downstairs to find something to eat, and I saw the pot filled with the gooey, oil-surfaced puddle of noodles, smelling like the look of it – a pungent, vomit-evoking mixture of ingredients, now mushy and somewhat dissolved. As I stared at the petrifying liquid of nightmare, I couldn’t help but think of how it came about in the first place.

Since you left me to join Dad on a nice, three-week vacation, I knew at some point I needed to make food by myself, even if it’s border-line edible. Scavenging through the refrigerator, I took out spinach, mushrooms, an egg, pork, pickled vegetables, and chicken broth, hoping that mashing everything together could make a decent meal. Outside of the refrigerator, I got noodles, water, and salt. I thought to myself, “How hard can this be? You did it every day like it was nothing.” Thus, I got to work exuding a sense of confidence and readiness.

As soon as the water boiled, I tossed in the noodles and the egg. Within a few seconds, to my dismay, I realized there wasn’t enough water. The noodles were sticking out of the surface of the water, meaning they would not be cooked. Because of my lack of experiences and ill judgment, I used my chopsticks to forcefully push those noodles down. Just when I was about to sigh with relief, I looked at the huge pile of cut spinach and mushrooms, not able to figure out how to fit that pile in a pot that had water barely enough to cover the noodles. I took a deep breath, and stuffed the spinach and mushrooms in the pot. Then, I sprinted to the sink to fill a bowl with filtered water, only to rush back to the pot to pour the water in. By now, I could care less about the art of fine cooking and the order of which material to put in first, so I dumped the chicken broth in and sprayed some salt without knowing how much to put. After a couple minutes, I turned the stove off, and stood there idly, with countless pearl-sized droplets of sweat gliding down my face.

Before I made the pot of noodles (if it can even be called noodles), I did not have the faintest idea of the difficulty, the hard work, and the time involved in making, quite frankly, any food. When a spectator like me watches a cook like you come up with a delicious dish and execute it perfectly, he or she cannot grasp the biggest fundamentals in making food, let alone the minute details required to make it delicious. It never struck me that you filled the pot with the exact level of water that can fit in all the materials, and it never dawned upon me that the times you tapped the bottle of salt on the pot signified a golden ratio that puts the food right in the center between “salty” and “bland”. Of course, when I failed to realize these more “obvious” things, I inevitably ignored the “little” things, like the combinations of vegetables you chose and how neatly you cut them.

Because of my reflection on making noodles, I now take the time to think about a myriad of things you’ve done for me – things that I’d like to now call “favors”, instead of “duties”. Knowing that I never even said a “thank you” after you dusted and mopped the floor, wiped the kitchen counter, drove me to and back from school, surveyed online tirelessly for a great restaurant we can go to, helped me cut out drawings for an art project, and made a gigantic pot of noodles for my swim team potluck, I feel like one of those spoiled kids I’ve read about in news articles, seen in movies, and encountered in real life – kids who fit seamlessly into the clichéd saying, “He takes things for granted.” In this moment, I whisper in my head, “Oh … the irony of despising the spoiled kids when I am, more or less, one of them.” Never did I intentionally steer my behavior to be an unappreciative teenager (obviously), but the scar I left on you when I slammed my door for just not wanting to clean my room is still there, never having “healed in time”. As I ponder the consequential things I’ve done to you, I think of the story I was once told as a kid, which is somewhat along the lines of this:

A father asked his daughter to hammer a hundred nails into a fence. The daughter did as she was told. Later, the father asked her to pull out every single nail. After the daughter did so, the father explained to her, “Notice all the holes you punched in the fence? The holes are just like people’s hurt feelings from the mean things you say or do to people. Although you can say ‘sorry’ or take them back, the holes are still there. The lesson? Be careful about what you say or do to people.”

Although I can never reverse the wounds I’ve inflicted on you, I will stop the hurting now. So many mistakes have been made, so many holes have been punched … I can only rectify them to the best of my ability by treating you as how any respectful, compassionate, and loving son would treat his mother. I hope another seventeen years later, an event can trigger me to reflect back on the great things I’ve done for you and to make a call to you just to say, “Thank you, Mom.”

Your beloved son 6/12/12





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback