Modern Love @ The New York Times – Overfed on a Mother’s Affection


Happy Mother’s Day weekend!  To begin the celebration early, check out the essay I wrote for the Modern Love section of The New York Times.  It’s online now; the print version will appear in the Sunday paper.

Overfed on a Mother’s Affection


My mother held out a Tupperware container of chicken thighs and drumsticks, roasted with kimchi, bell peppers, onions and scallions. It’s a great dish, one of my favorites.

“No,” I said.

My mother and I don’t fight often nowadays, because I’m 41 and she’s 72 and we lead separate lives. I see her once every two weeks. She makes me lunch, we shop at Costco, she makes me dinner, then she sends me off with grocery bags full of her cooking.

We’ve been on this schedule for the last eight years, since my father passed away. But on this evening, near the end of my visit to her senior apartment, I could tell we were going to argue.

“Just take it,” she said.

“I can’t.”

“It’s just one more.” There was an edge to her voice. “Why are you being difficult?”

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6 thoughts on “Modern Love @ The New York Times – Overfed on a Mother’s Affection

  1. Dear Sung, the answer to your problem is simple: South Korean Food Night, every other Monday. Ask over friends, put out the food and share the love. The food get enjoyed, you’re sharing your Mom’s love, your friends think you’re awesome and you can tell your Mom how much her efforts were appreciated.

    • Dear Lisa,

      Thanks for your suggestion — I think we’re okay now, but it’s certainly something I can consider if the situation changes!

      – Sung

  2. I really enjoyed your essay but was a little saddened by your response/refusal to accept all of your Mom’s food; as you said this is her way of giving. Why don’t you take it and donate it? You can always take out a small amount for yourself so you’re not forced to lie if she questions you.

    I’m sorry if I am out of line; my spouse always says I butt-in too much.

    Thank you.

    • Dear Ethell,

      Thanks for liking the essay. You are absolutely within the line — you can suggest whatever you wish! I appreciate that you took the time to write me.

      Take it easy,

      – Sung

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