Tuesday, February 16, 2010

the chinese new year snuck up on us...

Happy Chinese New Year! Welcome Year of the Tiger!
Sunday rang in the Chinese New Year. It was a big day for the Wilkison family. We took Matthew, still hopped up from his birthday party the night before, to a Monster Truck show in Cleveland. We rode the RTA in- I think he may have liked the train ride better than the trucks! He burst into tears when we reached Tower City - he did not want to get off that train! We prepared for the new year in traditional Chinese style, but when the day arrived we seemed to have lost track of it. No traditional red envelopes for Matthew, no Chinese dumplings or noodles. No dragon parade. It is hard to hang onto the traditions we know are so important to our family when there is so much life to live. How did we have too much going on to properly celebrate this most important Chinese holiday?
Now it is Tuesday, and it has been snowing for 2 days, and day care has been closed all week so far, and we still have yet to celebrate the new year. Maybe tomorrow we can dig out and find those dumplings. I was feeling bad about this, missing the new year. Everyone says you always find the time for what is important to you, so how did we not find the time for this? I was thinking about this in bed last night, and I realized that mothers find guilt. It doesn't matter how healthy and happy our children are, we always feel like we should be doing more. Then it hit me. We are not a traditional Chinese family. We are a blended family. So it would stand to reason that our traditions and holidays might be a little eccentric.
On New Year's Eve it is traditional for the entire family to get together for a meal to celebrate the upcoming holiday. On the eve of Chinese New Year this year the entire Wilkison family got together, along with my sister and niece and one of my closest friends and her family, to celebrate Matthew's birthday. We shared pizza and cake and had a great time just being with each other. So, I guess we did have the traditional New Year's Eve family meal, in our non-traditional way.
Last Wednesday our house was cleaned from top to bottom, something that happens twice a month. Before the new year the Chinese clean their homes, sweeping away any ill fortune that may be lurking in the corners and making room for the new year's good luck. Another tradition we participated in, in our own way.
Maybe I didn't realize it at the time, and maybe I didn't point out how our actions were mirroring those of the people of my son's birth country. Maybe next year I will be better at this. But I suspect that this is how it will be. The meshing of my son's two worlds is messy, the lines blurred. And that mirrors life in general- a messy, wonderful, fun place to be!

1 comment:

  1. I am glad that you had a wonderful birthday celebration & the trip to Cleveland. Jim and I usually go to the New Year's parade in DC and of course the dragon dances after the parade, followed by a several story tall string of fire crackers.


    Only the thing is, in DC it is always celebrated at the of the 15 day New Year celebration. So go for it. Have the dumplings & the red envelopes and do it all - you still have time to celebrate New Years. (And maybe in a year or two, come to visit here for New Years and we can all go to the Chinatown parade together.