33. No Ragrets*

Lately, I can’t stop thinking about something my mom told me last year.

We were driving from one end of California to the other, to see my uncle for what would be the last time. Her hands were on the steering wheel, and I was looking past her out the window. The sun was setting over parched farmland, coloring everything in amber honey and blinding us as we drove.
My thrice-divorced, recently remarried** mother was telling me about her prayer group. A weekly hour of husband-bashing and despair-sharing around a coffee table with cut fruit and hot tea – the korean housewife equivalent of a book club. She told me how these women shared similar frustrations and sometimes even alarming concerns about their relationships. It was their safe place to contemplate divorce and silently judge each other.
“I’m still a part of this prayer group,” she told me, her eyes fixed straight ahead at the semi rumbling three car spaces ahead of us. Ever since a string of traffic violations and a revoked license in the 90s, my mom is a very cautious driver.
She turned her head quickly towards me, though, as she said, “All those women are still married.” Her tattooed eyebrows arched into upside down v’s, her face a mixture of astonishment and unacknowledged shame. Out of all those women, after all those hours of shared confidences and aired grievances, she was the only one who had actually divorced her husband.
I know her intent in telling me that story. Her plea for me to stay. To stick it out – even though she hadn’t. Because it doesn’t feel nice to be the only one in the group who leaves. Because one can hope that rough starts and middles can have a happy ending. Because everything is clearer in hindsight.


I asked her if she regretted it now, all these years later.  Did she regret leaving my father?
She responded swiftly, without skipped beats or room for questions,




*I’ve never seen We Are the Millers, but apparently that’s a thing.

**I hate that someone’s life can be reduced to a few choice words.

33. No Ragrets*


1. Zara’s mid-season sale = my lunch break. That yellow dress is spring…for only $24.95.

2. A trend I can’t get behind, mainly because it reminds me of my old Korean grandpa.

3. Mother’s Day is May 10th, which means you have three weeks to buy her something she’ll return or re-gift. Or this card, for the woman who taught you how to love generously and make kimchi pancakes.

4. Cup of Jo just posted an interview with a weddings reporter with relationship advice that’s actually helpful. One of many pearls:

What to look for in a partner: I once interviewed a psychologist for a column, and I asked him readers’ questions about what to look for in a mate. Without fail, his answer to almost every question was “choose someone kind, choose someone kind.” It was like a broken record, and I was annoyed. But you know what? Being with somebody who is fundamentally kind — to children and waiters and dogs — means that at the end of the day, they will be kind to you.

5. Just started this show and I’m addicted.

6. Tomorrow is Administrative Professionals Day. That’s all.

Happy Tuesday.