Thursday, 27 September 2007
Mid Autumn Festival
Last year we were at my mum's for the Mid-Autumn Festival and it was sure festive. This year, because it fell on a weekday, and because my brother-in-law and wife said they would be back for dinner, my mum-in-law made steamboat for dinner.
The evening started out early after Micah and I went out to look for some lanterns and candles- yeah, last minute decision. By the time we got back it was already 7pm, so I started lighting and out putting some of the lanterns around the driveway. Some of the neighbours took that as a sign that it was time for dinner and everyone went indoors. Suddenly all seemed quiet, except for my two boys running and playing in the driveway while I quietly put on the lanterns. My in-laws were watching TV and the other adults were still not home yet. Mike was going to be late, 10pm, he said.
The quietness was so unfamiliar with festivity that it made me feel a little lonely and "homesick". It was like the feeling I had when I spent my first Chinese New Year away from home in the US. I was there doing some research for my thesis and a friend travelled with me coz she needed some time away to figure her life out a bit. We stayed with Mike in San Francisco as he was there on a 1 year stint. Even though they were both my closest friends, both my soul mate and prayer partners, it still did not make up for the absence of my family.
Anyway, it was this evening, the Mid-Autumn Festival 2007, that made me see so clearly that my boys are different from other kids because of the way I am bringing them up (All these kids, from 3 families, have both parents working and 2 families have the grandparents looking after the kids for them while they work).
For starters, when the neighbours had finished dinner and came walking down the street chattering and the kids carrying lanterns, they found both my boys sprawled on their bellies on the driveway trying to catch a spider. I overheard one of the boys (he's maybe 7 or 8) exclaimed in disgust that they were lying on the ground.
When they had caught the spider, Micah exclaimed loudly at the gate, "Everyone come look! I've got spider! I've got a spider! Look! Look!" Another boy (about 5) came, saw the spider and went, "Eeek!" Then a girl (maybe 12) came and looked and said to the others in slight shiver, "He dares to hold a spider in his hand!"
Hmmm... my boys, especially Micah, hunts for insects everyday. You mean that's not normal? (We keep them in a transparent box/jar for a day then we let them go so that they don't starve to death.)
While all this was happening, Mommy was actually walking around the driveway with a bowl and a spoon in her hands, the boys' dinner. I was trying to feed them while they play. I know this does nothing for table manners, but most of the time, when Mike is not having dinner with us, I try to settle the kids first.
The boys went indoors for a while: showered and played with grandpa while I took my dinner. Then Their uncle and aunt came so I made a quick escape and hopped into the showers while they helped watch and entertain the boys. After that Mike got back, had dinner and took the boys out for another round of lantern and candle lighting. By the time we all came in, it was 11pm and the boys needed another round of cleaning up.
We all went to bed about 12am, happy.
p/s- Mike's mum cut opened a pomelo and gave the boys a beret each in the afternoon. It was just like my childhood days too. :)