Stella’s Obsession: Spend Your Money on Time for Mother’s Day

All the clichés about life and time are true. This Mother’s Day, just sit down and listen to her story.

“Can you come over tonight? We need to talk. It’s kinda heavy.” Is what my brother texted last week. I’m not good with the “We need to talk”. If you have something to say, say it. Don’t warn me, because I don’t know how to prepare. And there’s no way you can prepare to find out that an aunt you loved so deeply as a child but have kept at bay as an adult got hit with cancer and has 6 months left to live.

My brother and I would visit her in Florida every summer as kids. We learned how to swim in her pool. She taught us English with Hooked on Phonics when she came home after work, took days off and drove us to Disney World, Seaworld and The Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida. My aunt was the one who orchestrated Christmas Eve with toys underneath a tree like they did in movies when I was 5 and was the one who had to break the news that Santa wasn’t real at 10. Growing up in Queens, New York, communities of immigrant families are tightly knit and made homes in shoebox apartments. A two story house, a pool, backyard BBQ’s and driving to the mall was a concept behind a TV screen as a kid. My aunt’s home in Florida was my American escape every summer from my grandma’s extremely Korean, extremely Catholic clench in New York.

Her coming to America story starts with falling in love with my uncle at a military base in Korea, moving to Kansas, bringing her two brothers and mother from Korea to Kansas, getting a job in a mattress factory, attending night school to become an accountant all the while putting a roof over the entire family while starting a family of her own. She was laser focused on her vision for upward mobility in America. But it wasn’t that easy. Fresh off the boat from a village in Korea to rural Kansas in the seventies, life wasn’t so kind. Those experiences built a hard shell of pride and defense shielding the hurt and emotion. My family worked extremely hard to give my brother and I a better life. And now that I have it, and have assimilated to the culture, it was hard to live with an excess of pride, defense and duty to family, in my immediate periphery so I’ve kept my distance for self-preservation.

“I don’t have time for this. I don’t have the mental space for this.” I had to learn very quickly over the past few days that life doesn’t check in and book appointments on our calendar for cancer. Shit just happens. And when we’re forced to deal with it, we have to. I’ve considered my approach this weekend and it’s just boils down to listen to her story. Ask questions. It’ll be the same story as I heard as a child. But like an old book that you pick up and notice the details you missed the first time around. And now that I’m an adult, she would be willing to fill in some blanks I’ve been questioning about my family.

So for Mother’s Day, take the time to connect with your mother. A mother. A mother figure. The cliché of “Life is too short…” is not just a quote on a glittered spiral notebook you can get at Target over an impulse buy. It’s real. I’d suggest booking an appointment at Jin Soon Spa and get down to the Essence of Soul with laughter over manis and pedis. Test out the new seasonal colors in Tweety, a bold and bright yellow, and throw a fun top coat of confetti in Dotty. If you’re planning on spending time at home, bring along Dr.Jart’s Hand Hydrating Mask. It’s a quirky foil mask that heats up to get deep into your skin and alleviate dryness. Olive & June’s Everything Box literally has everything you need for a salon style at home treatment. From a cuticle serum, files, clean up brush and The Poppy, their universal polish bottle handle, it’s something you can keep around for you and your mom when you “Need to bring EVERYTHING” out. Throw on a Rubber Lover Mask, lay on her lap and ask her to tell you a story.

The greatest gift that money can’t buy is time. Keep it light. Keep it easy. Let the small stuff go. Life is too short.

Click through the slideshow below to see Stella’s picks for Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day

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