Ever since I can remember (which really isn’t that far back), we would have reunion dinners at my paternal grandmother’s place, where many of the uncles and aunties would gather. After I was married “off”, we would have reunion dinner at my ILs place, and join my parents at my grandmother’s place.
It didn’t really occur to me that some people have no reunion dinners to go to; worse, an ST article wrote that some people avoid their relatives completely because they disliked them, or their parents never talked and visited them. One girl said she had not seen her grandmother in 13 years!
Eating and feasting aside, we always look forward to catching up with our relatives, since we seldom have a chance to meet up on ordinary days. Having the chance to learn about our relatives, and about our histories, is essential in ingraining and defining us as a family to the children.
Research has also shown that families who have a rich sense of history are more likely to be be resilient, and having a strong sense of “intergenerational self” reinforces that they know they belong to something bigger than themselves. And Chinese New Year is the perfect time to reminisce the yester years, and catch up with our relatives.
Of course we have it easy since we only go to a handful of homes. The first few days were really relaxed, and our kids and their cousins also spent a lot of time at the park connectors or doing sports together, so at least we are not pigging out all the time. On the other days, we weren’t too rushed, and thankfully the kids were never too tired or hungry, or bored. One of my uncles keeps two dogs and parrots. Another aunt kept them busy with some random toys including a soccer table, but even where there wasn’t much, they busied themselves exploring the different homes, or keeping themselves busy with some pens, markers and scissors and a whole lot of scrap paper. I think it warmed all of our hearts, especially for the older generations, to be asked by Mittens if he could come and visit again.
So as tempted as we always are to make use of the extended holidays and go for a getaway, I’m thankful for this little family of ours, and with our wonderful extended family, we’ve really been enjoying Chinese New Year together. This, past, and many more years to come.
Happy Chinese New Year everyone!