Am I the only adoptive parent who feels totally inept when it comes to important holidays from my child's birth culture?
Last year was our first time to celebrate the Moon Festival as a family. At the last minute, I ran out and bought a couple of mooncakes and made a quick dinner of frozen pot stickers. We played Chinese folk songs as we ate. I'm glad no Chinese person (other than Wenxin) could see my lame attempt at honoring his birth culture. Yes, it was pretty lame. But it was a start.
Sometimes it's important just to start.
And you know what?
It was fun.
This year in August Wenxin reminded me. "Mom, don't forget. The Moon Festival is coming up."
So yesterday we made a day of it. We drove downtown to an area with lots of Asian restaurants and shops, and we had lunch at my favorite Vietnamese place. We all chowed down on noodles and rice, and everyone tried bubble tea for the first time.
Those tapioca pearls kind of freaked everyone out. They'll be talking about it for days.
After lunch, we headed to an Asian supermarket to shop for mooncakes. Last year we had the ones with red bean filling. This year we bought a tin with four different flavors. We chose the kind that have a salty egg yolk in the middle. From what I understand, the egg yolk stands for the full moon. I just couldn't bring myself to do the cooked egg yolk in the middle of a cake thing last year, but this year I'm game. Why not? Mooncake is pretty much outside my comfort zone no matter what's inside. And Wenxin's pretty excited about those egg yolks.
Next, we dropped by a gift shop and bought paper lanterns for decorations. The Chinese ladies there even talked me into buying a huge paper lantern that floats up into the sky when lit. Wenxin is convinced it is destined to come crashing out of the sky and cause a fire.
"That one's a fire hazard, Mom. If we're going to light it, we need to go somewhere FAR FROM OUR HOUSE."
Last stop: the public library for a book about the Moon Festival.
Thursday night, provided there's no rain, we plan to set up our porch table in the backyard under the full moon. There will be candles and lanterns and our favorite Asian foods.
Our family is a blending of two cultures, so it just seems right that we should incorporate some of the best things from both. For us, that means adding the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese New Year to our list of family celebrations.
This year's Moon Festival holds special meaning for us. It's the third anniversary of the night Wenxin came home and all my kids slept under the same roof for the first time. The night we became a family.
Do all internationally adopted kids want their new families to celebrate their birth cultures? Should you push birth culture when all your kid wants is just to fit into his adopted culture? Kayla addresses these questions today at No Hands But Ours in a post called Chinese, if you please.