A friend posted on FB a photo of what she had as dinner for the CNY reunion dinner.
After looking at the photo I felt really sorry for her children. Why? Because all her family had was a plate of home-made wanton noodles.
The Reunion dinner on chinese new year's eve is one of the most important events for most chinese families, and it is usually a large and lavish meal, and traditionally it is in excess of what is to be eaten as there are meant to be lots of leftovers, signifying abundance, which is kept over till the next year (next day, in this case).
And her very simple reunion dinner wasn't because she already had an earlier reunion.
No, I am not being condescending towards her and her family for being unable to afford more for dinner, because I know she can afford it. It is more for the choices she chose to make.
I am not sure how she has celebrated previous reunion dinners but I feel that her children are at that age (3, and 7) where experiences that they have now will forever be remembered and will determine how they live their lives later.
In our family, we try to give the best to our children. Be it in experiences, food or education. We, the adults, make the sacrifices. If we can do without something so that our children can have something better, we will let them have it.
I just couldn't help but feel sorry for her little ones who may not understand the significance and importance of such an important day for the chinese, for having not experienced it.
When my Mother-in-law saw the photo of their reunion dinner, she really pitied the little ones and wanted to give them some of the extras that she had cooked. But I don't think that's the way to go.
Why? We all make our choices. I don't have nor carry the Gucci, the Bottega Veneta, the Prada and the Louis Vuitton handbags that she does on an everyday basis. I don't wear the Tod's and Salvatore Ferragamo shoes that she does on a daily basis. Does anyone pity me? No! And I don't want them to, because I don't yearn for those things.(Ok, maybe I do sometimes, but I have learnt to live without them.)
The choices we make today and everyday will influence the lives of our children. It will determine how they view certain festivals, important family events, and traditions in the future. Are we making the right choices for our families?
Note: You may not agree with what I have written. I am not saying that the choices I have made are the right ones and the only ones. You make your own choices for your own families according to your own customs beliefs and how you have been brought up. You decide!