Saturday was such an awesome day, and for no reason in particular. I spent the morning at the central ohio families with children from china board meeting. This meeting is held in conjunction with the chinese culture classes as many of the board members have older children enrolled in these language, music, and dance classes. I love being around during these classes. The children range in age from 5 years old to teenagers, and many of these kids have been taking classes together for years. I love to walk through the halls and see the parents sitting on the floor outside their child's classroom, chatting with each other and catching up on each other's lives. The children, mainly girls, are usually laughing and joking with one another as they change classes. I feel very centered as I walk these halls. Everyone, parents and children alike all seem very calm and relaxed. I feel very calm and relaxed just being there in the midst of all of this Chinese culture. Hard to explain unless you are truly walking in our shoes, I suppose. This is one of the few places in our daily lives, besides our private homes, where we truly are just like everyone else. We are just mothers and fathers, young boys and girls, teenagers. We look like every other parent/child combo we see. And that means so much to us.
I hardly ever think about my son's differences from me. I do not look at him and see a Chinese boy. I look at home and see my beautiful son. Of course. I don't presume that everyone I see out in public is noticing us or labeling us or even thinking about us at all. I know that our family is slightly different than many we see out in the world, but I rarely even think about it. But when I walk those halls during the culture classes I don't think about it all. It feels like home. Like a comfortable old pair of shoes that I slip into at the end of a very long day.
After the board meeting I went out to lunch with my boys and then off to visit Santa. What a joy! Last year's Santa picture looks as though Matthew is terrified and trying to slip off the big guy's lap. This year he is sitting nicely, hands folded, big smile on his face. He couldn't wait to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas, and he patiently waited in the line. Well, somewhat patiently. A testament to the electronic age we all live in - we didn't even get an actual photo to take home; we simply got a memory stick. Ahhh, the memories....
We stopped at a bookstore to complete some holiday shopping. Matthew sat in his stroller, something he doesn't do too often anymore. He ate a lollipop and sang his way through the store- his very own version of "Jingle Bells". He seems to be a year behind. Last year his day care class sang "Jingle Bells" for the Christmas show and he jingled his bells but didn't sing a word. This year they say a song about Rudolph, to which he did all the movements but wouldn't sing. Now this year he is signing "Jingle Bells" every moment. Maybe next year he will get on board with the Rudolph song.... He said hello to everyone in the store, waving his green sucker and smiling a big sticky smile.
At our next stop, an iced tea break for mommy and daddy he sat in his stroller and played with the straws I gave him to use as drumsticks. He drummed and sang "Jingle Bells", occasionally tossing the straw drumstick into the air and needing to be reminded that he was, in fact, not a rock star. I sat back in my chair and felt the warmth of the fire creeping around my feet and up my spine, enveloping me in fuzzy comfort. I smiled at my husband, totally engrossed in Matthew's "Highlights" magazine. I watched my little boy singing and drumming and I realized, not for the first time, how much my father would have enjoyed this little guy. His sense of humor, his constant singing, his love of musical instruments - my dad would have soaked up every minute with his grandson. And I just know that my little guy would have loved every minute as well.