Saturday, February 5, 2011

Choices

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!

9 comments:

JoMel said...

I understand what you mean. We want to give the best to our kids. In my case, I'd rather forgo the branded shoes and bags to provide a lavish reunion dinner for my family, as well as their day-to-day necessities. But ultimately, to each and her own...

bp said...

I totally get what you are saying, dear. and I think becoming parents especially, it's made us choose less for ourselves so we can give more to our children.

i hope there's more stuff your friend will whip up or take her children out to eat this CNY... it is a lot about the feasting i so miss, n what i try n do at home is pared down. hoping maybe we can squeeze in a great meal outside... next weekend maybe? hubby just got his wisdom teeth out tho' n can only have baby food for next few days!

TripleJin said...

I'm not sure how to go about this..but, for the eve, I do feel it is important to have certain dishes, as they do have their significance. I think mostly, my MIL passed this on to me, as my mom was really cincai during CNY.

To ensure that my kids 'get' the significance, we emphasize what we are eating and why... which I never got to appreciate when I was a kid, because my mom never bothered.

Not sure if it's because I want to be over-zealous about the whole thing....

NomadicMom said...

All the designer goods..and just wonton noodles for Reunion Dinner? A bit odd lor. I mean I am not one for lavish abalone, sharks fin etc for Reunion Dinner... but must at least be "more" than our usual dinners...and definitely MUST HAVE fish for "abundance"!

NomadicMom said...

Oops..sorry forgot...

GONG XI FA CHAI!

stay-at-home mum said...

I am not saying that they must have lavish abalone or sharks fin for the reunion dinner, but it should be something more than the average dinner to signify this is a special occasion. When growing up, we never had sharks fin or abalone, but we did have our chicken curry, and pork and duck all at one meal - which was unusual, coz we never had all 3 on the dinner table at one go - so as kids we knew it was a special occasion!!

iml said...

The children's lasting memories will be something like this,"Remember one year we had nothing but wantons wantons and more wantons??? Never eaten so many wantons in my life"

Happy Lunar New Year To All At Home!

Stardust said...

Thankful to my mother who never failed to prepare a spread that should 'last until next year'. This is definitely one of the values I'll have it kept for the rest of my life, even if it's celebrating CNY abroad.

My Paperback said...

This post really spoke to me. It made me think of my 12, almost 13, year old niece. Her parents are divorced and for a few Christmas' we didn't see her until after the New Year where we would just exchange gifts and be done with it. Two years ago, she had her first Christmas with us in 7 years. We had a Christmas tree surrounded by lots of presents, a huge dinner, decorations everywhere, Christmas lights, the traditional stuff. My niece was astonished at everything. That night I was talking to her and she said that usually on Christmas, her mom would just give her the gifts, still in the bag they were bought in, usually with the tags still attached. There would be no decorations, no tree, no lights. Her mom would leave her at home so she could go out to a Christmas party, and that was my nieces Christmas. Upon hearing this, I talked to my mother and asked her if there was anything we could do to help. My mom replied with "Her mom doesn't want Callie to have a happy Christmas because she never had one." True, it is completely her moms decision to do this, but I will never forget the look on my nieces face for her first real Christmas celebration.