Risk is a Family Game

My Family is very close. That is an important preface to this story. My parents work together in a flower shop so they literally see each other 24/7 and have done so for more than two decades. My brother and I weren’t always close (especially during high school when actually WWIII was happening sometimes) but have forced our sibling relationship over the past few years, especially when we discovered that we actually have a lot more in common as adults (funny how that works out, huh?). Mom and I text mainly in GIFS, Memes, and BitMojis to the point that we simultaneously understand and don’t understand each other. My brother has more than once followed my dad to the bathroom if he’s not finished tell him about his day and my dad takes it and continues to listen. And on that note, my parents have an open-door bathroom policy and always have for as  long as I could remember. When anything happens to me, be it good or bad, they are always 100% the first people I tell. In the shower, when hold my shampoo bottles and pretend to be winning a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical, they are always the longest and most emotional part of my fake acceptance speech. We are a close family. We tell each other everything. At least most of the time.

There are rare times where just one of us will leave on a trip for a long period of time. The two biggest ones are both when my mom went back to Korea to visit her family. She was gone for a few weeks at a time, leaving Dad, my brother and me to fend for ourselves for a little. This should not have been a problem. However, the first time mom left up to go to Korea, I was in 6 grade. 3 major things happened while she was gone. One, I discovered a new pass time where I would pick at my freckles until they bled, because I wanted to see how deep the pigment went. Two, my brother broke his collarbone playing football with some of the other neighborhood kids. Three, dad bought a boat. Apparently, we completely fell apart without Mom.

So when she needed to leave the three of us alone again to go to Korea just a few years ago, it’s fair to say that she was pretty terrified even though this was more than a 11 years later and now everyone was legally an adult. The worry was real however and it was almost to the point where she didn’t actually want to leave. When we finally convinced her to go, she made sure to track each of all individually and give us a specific request. To me she said, “Please do make any changes to your body”, to my brother “please don’t hurt yourself”, and to my dad “please don’t be in possession of a motorcycle when I get back.” After a little vacation adventure a few months previous where we rode scooters down Red Rock, Dad rediscovered his love for riding choppers. Something he used to do all the time, until he met my mother and was lightly suggested that he doesn’t actually like them. He gladly gave it up for the love of his life, but 26 years into marriage, he figures that she’s probably stuck with him by this point so why not test those waters again. Mom gave him a pretty firm no and made sure to put her foot down again before she left the country for a few day. The night before her departure, we all made our individual promises with smiles and sincere nods. My poor mother.

She is on that plane for less than half an hour before I have to pick my brother up from work because he accidently used hydrogen peroxide instead of contact solution and got chemical burns on his eyes. We stop by the flower shop to tell dad and wait out the time before going to the eye doctor when he says the horrible words I wasn’t even surprised to hear. “Don’t tell mom yet… but I got the motorcycle.” Before we can really react ,Dad is going on and on about how his friend gave it to him his old one for free so she at least wouldn’t be mad about the money, yada yada yada…while I on the other hand was secretly distracted by a little secret of my own and it only forced it’s way up to the surface after Dad’s little confession. And now I finally saw my opportunity to get away with it. He looked at me almost expectantly because I’m the loud smart mouth of the family that likes to rub it in people’s faces when they get things wrong or when they mess up. I’m also the  naturally the class tattletale, when it comes to my mother. What he was not expecting was for me to blurt out a confession I had been holding in for almost a week. I had done the one thing in my life that my parents had explicitly forbidden me to do multiple times but I had taken the risk anyway. “I got a tattoo.” The word came out one of my mouth before I could stop them. Everything gets silent. Dad looks angry at first but then stops. “Well…I’m really in no position to start judging or be mad.” My brother just looks at the three of us at a whole and asks then question we are all thinking: “When do we tell Mom?”

We had a 3/4 family meeting and decided to take the cowards way out and call her while she was still in Korea so that at least he was on the other side of the country and also so there were a few weeks for her to cool off before we actually were face-to-face with her again. That phone call….was not the best phone call to say the least. But in the end, it did not matter. Mom gave us the silent treatment for a little bit (which was impressive since she was more than 7,000 miles away and we could still feel it in our house) but we are still family. We bicker and squabble and silently judge each other. But we are still the family that is super close, that does everything together and apparently, that tends to really screw things up together too.

Putting the Fuse in Confused

~C

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