Full House (with the K.M.A)
By Lucia Kim
My family and the K.M.A are as tight as sticky labels on glass bottles: they’re hard to separate, but they often look better together.
My Mom is always the listener in a large group of friends. She doesn’t need to brag or make people laugh to be recognized. She already has that aura: I’m nice and everyone wants to be friends with me. My Dad, on the other hand, is the triangle in a symphony orchestra. Small but loud. He’s about five feet, five inches, and he’s the life of any party. He knows how to brighten the mood and pull a laugh out of everyone. We all want to sit at the same lunch table as that guy. But my Dad doesn’t quite have the same power within my family. My sister, my Mom, and I formed our little squad. That makes my Dad more like a mouse living in a house of three cats. My family runs itself as a democracy. We vote on issues, and whichever side gets the most votes wins. This is where our democracy is flawed because my Dad is always outnumbered. A typical day in our house sounds like this:
“Dad! We want to watch something on the T.V.”
“Whyyyy. I just started watching.”
“Let’s vote. Who wants to watch something else?”
The three of us are always on the same side, so we win the vote. We get dinner together when my Dad goes out golfing with his friends. We cross our legs and snuggle them into my Mom’s blanket and have a girl talk. My Dad is invited occasionally. But he’d much rather play golf.
My sister and I have a love-annoyance relationship. I’ll say something, and then she gets annoyed. Or I’ll eat something, then she steals from me, and I get annoyed. Our definition of love is watching YouTube “What I Do In A Day” vlogs, ordering food on Uber Eats, getting disappointed that the food is cold, then doing it all again the next day.
My favorite moments are when I get to spend time with my whole family. On a trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts we tried to memorize the song that’s supposed to make you remember all fifty states in alphabetical order. We sang “Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas. . .what was the next one?” for hours and hours on our way to lobster rolls, walks on the beach, and barbecues. You’d think this trip was just for the four of us, but it’s not a family trip without my Mom’s closest friends, who all came with their families.
I like to refer to my Mom’s inner circle as the K.M.A. This stands for the Korean Moms’ Association. It can also stand for what I want to yell so bad when listening to their conversations.
“Ashley, are you done writing your college supplements. Hurry up, why aren’t you done? They’re important!”
Kiss My Ass (K.M.A)
“My son bought me a bag for my birthday. Let me show you. Hold on.”
Kill Me Already (K.M.A)
Luckily, my mom was different from her friends.
I’ve been to some of the K.M.A meetings, mostly because they always eat good food. Moms gather in the Paris Baguette next to my church and grab their hot coffee with cream and sugar. The meeting’s conversations range from cool dog facts they read on the internet to their children’s ambitions. As a highschooler, I appreciate my Mom for not telling the whole Bayside Church about my goals and aspirations. I’m one of the lucky kids because the other moms are the epitome of over-sharers. They brag about the 100s their sons have gotten on their math tests. They brag about their daughters and how they received recognition from their principal. They talk about how their kids will be dentists, doctors, and lawyers and how they are the perfect candidates for Harvard.
You’ll know a member of the K.M.A is bragging, but they’ll never say it straight up. At times it’s, “Oh, I don’t think my son is smart, but his tutor says he’s very quick at learning Mandarin and very fast at picking up new information.” Or, “My son never told me college is tiring because he’s not the type to complain, but the dermatologist said he has acne because he goes to Vanderbilt. It’s a rigorous school.” And sometimes it’s, “My son never practices the piano. He’s a boy, what do you expect? But his fingers are very flexible.” These moms know what they’re doing. They’re sneaky.
My sister and I admire our parents and thank them for being different from the moms in the K.M.A. Our parents have never once said, “I don’t think my daughter’s talented, but her music teacher always tells me that she’s good at expressing herself” or anything along those lines.
Even though the K.M.A drives me crazy, they’re like my extended family. They gossip, but they make me laugh. They rooted me in my Korean identity even though I was growing up as an American. I forgot to say that K.M.A can also stand for Keeping Memories Alive.
I was first driven to write a story about my sister and I’s relationship. I thought this topic was relatable, and it was something my family could read in the future. However, my story’s subject quickly changed after I went to a dinner gathering with the K.M.A and their families. One of the moms managed to brag about her son while telling a story that someone allegedly told her. Confusing. I know. But that’s the K.M.A; they seize any and every opportunity to brag about their children. I included the exact quote in my story, and it inspired me to write more.
Lucia Kim is a young author of poetry, memoirs and nonfiction for her family, teachers and mentor. She hopes to grow her reader base while spreading smiles through her writing. Lucia was born and raised in Queens, NY, where she lives with her mom, dad, sister and an abundance of leafy plants. When she's not writing at her kitchen table, Lucia loves to take walks, play the piano and read.