One of the main reasons Brother Konchog planned to return to these American shores just now was to be present to fete his mother on the grand occasion of her 80th birthday. She reached and passed this august milestone yesterday amidst feasting and gifts proffered from near and far, and it is here that I’ll cease referring to myself in the third person (just rented a DVD of The Queen) and share a couple pics with you.
Ma requested fish, so out we trooped – immediate family with Darisuren as special guest – to Legal Seafoods for dinner. Here’s the gang, stuffed to the, um, gills:
And a nice shot of Ma and Darisuren:
Afterward, we repaired to the house for strawberry shortcake. Not wishing to provoke the Hot Shots into smashing through the door with axes, and to ensure Ma got her wish, we set strict limits on the candles:
Before I left Mongolia, I was deeply touched by the many friends who knew it was a special birthday for my mother and pressed upon me gifts to carry to her with their warm greetings. One of the most adorable was Amarjargal, the nine-year old daughter of Baljinnyam. Remember her from the Khamariin Khiid pilgrimage?
She made four drawings before I left, two for my teachers, one for me, and one for Ma, depicting a pastoral Mongolian scene with their five main animals admirably depicted: goat, camel, cow, horse, and sheep:
My Mongolian language teacher sent these funky felt slippers…
…and she and my friend Saraa helped me select this gorgeous cashmere sweater:
Darisuren herself presented Ma with a lovely golden khatag, symbolic of the wish for long life, along with several lovely gifts – yet another cashmere garment, a bolt of exquisite royal purple fabric, and a small thangka of Shakyamuni Buddha:
It was a lovely evening, and made up somewhat for my regret that I can’t attend the big shindig in Vermont next month that my sisters are organizing for all Ma’s friends and family.
Love you, mama. May there be many, many more.