The Wrath of Cha

May 31

Last week I was chatting with my mom over the phone when she casually brought up the fact that my stepdad’s birthday was Thursday. “Kuht birthday this Thursday,” she said, “and it be nice if you call and wish him happy birthday. Or send him card. No, call him. He so nice to all my kids and send money for all you birthdays! Thursday. You call.”

I told her I’d ring him up on his birthday (though I suspect this gesture is more to make my mom happy than for her husband’s benefit). After a busy week and amidst an even busier weekend, my mom left a voicemail message for me on Saturday. It basically sounded like this:

“Rebecca! Where are you? … supposed to call Kuht on Thursday, wish him a happy birthday! What happen? … me back. Mommy sad.” CLICK

Oh shit. Shit. SHIT.

I forgot to make the “happy birthday” call. Mom was going to kill me. There’s nothing quite like the wrath of a diminutive Asian woman. She was pissed and I was afraid. I knew I’d have to call her back and sit on the receiving end of a verbal beatdown, but since I was dreading the conversation, I didn’t return her call until Monday, at which point I figured I’d have to at least let her know I was alive and well and was instead only avoiding her out of fear for my own life.

Jason and I were on our way to a Memorial Day dinner, so I called my mom while he was driving.

Ring ring…ring ring…

Me: “pleasegotovoicemailpleasegotovoicemail…”

Mom: “Hello?”

I cursed under my breath.

Me: “Hi Mom, it’s me.”

Mom: “REBECCA!!!”

I gulped.

Mom: “WHERE ARE YOU?!?!!”

Me: “I’m on my way to a barbecue…I’m sorry! I forgot to call and I’m sorry!”

Mom: “All my kids and grandkids call Kuht and wish him happy birthday…except one.”

Me, sighing: “I know, I just totally forgot. I’m really sorry.”

Mom: “I call and remind you last week and you forget to call??!”

Me: “I know. I’m sorry.” At this point Jason is laughing over how many times the word “I’m sorry” has been uttered in a 90-second timeframe.

Mom: “Maybe we forget you birthday next time!”

Considering how half of my siblings don’t remember to call me on my birthday and the fact that my mom doesn’t even know how old I am, it’s not a very scary threat.

Me: “I said I was sorry!”

Mom: “I bet you remember to call Jason parents on they birthday!”

Me: “Uh, no, not really.”

Mom, indignant: “Well…next time you come to Meechygan, you stay in hotel!”

What? Now she was banning me from her house? All because I forgot to call her husband on his birthday? WTF!

Me: “Really?”

Mom: “Yeah!”

Me: “Really.”

Mom: “…Yeah.”

Me: “That seems pretty mean.”

Mom: “I say! Me!” (I think she meant the threat of banning me from staying with them when I visit was coming from her, not Kurt. She is an exceptionally stubborn woman.)

Me: “Oh for Christ’s…is Kurt there now? Can I at least wish him a happy belated birthday and apologize to him?”

Mom: “Hold on, I check…okay, here he is.”

She put her husband on the phone. I had a very pleasant conversation with him, apologized for forgetting to call and asked him to get the five-foot-tall infuriated Korean woman off my back. He seemed totally nonplussed that I had failed to call on Thursday and laughed it off. After our chat, he put Mom back on the phone.

Me: “See? He’s happy. I apologized and we had a nice conversation.”

Mom, reluctant: “…..OK.”

Me: “Are you happy now?”

Mom: “…I guess.”

Me: “Okay, good.”

Mom: “…you have fun at barbecue. Eat lots.”

Crisis averted. Mostly.


  1. Hahaha This one is hilarious.
    We have so much similarities on how to handle birthdays. I tend to forget a lot too when lots of things are going on, luckily my mom reaction is not the same as yours (come on, banning you from the house?) Hopefully she won’t cut the mom-daughter ties the next time you forget her birthday!

  2. Ingrid /

    Totally dying. That is exactly what my Korean mom would do. Although she takes it a step further by buying a gift for my stepfather and telling him it’s from me.

    Came across your blog on accident. Great stuff! Laughed my butt off about the pawning off of wardrobe items. Just like my mom as well. =)

  3. Elizabeth /

    LOLOLOLOL OMG I PREFER VERBAL BEATDOWNS THAN MY MOM GRABBING HER DAMN STICK AND TELLING ME TO PULL MY PANTS DOWN, CUSS ME OUT IN KOREAN, my mom also has to name all of my siblings first before finally getting to my name! I totally know those feels!

  4. June /

    I would be banned. My sisters and I have been banned from the house many times

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