It is a happy pleasure to cook Reunion lunch for my little family! And this year I have made a difference- my girls and I are not attending reunion dinner at the in laws! I would expect people to criticize me for being not respectful to the elderly or my hubby BUT I seriously think it is time to put a a full stop to this!
If you haven’t know me/us, I have been with my hubby since 2004 and joined their family reunion since 2005. I came from a rather ‘unhappy’ family, hoping that I would ‘married’ into a lovely happy family. To a certain extent, they are lovely but to a large extent – I would feel that they have been autocratic in the sense – everything done based on their personal likings and comfort.
I actually began working in their restaurant on Chinese New Year eve and into first and second day of the celebration – yes, I volunteered. Those days I did enjoyed. It was until no.1 was born, we stopped doing so since it isn’t appropriate to bring a baby/toddler along working. Despite that, we still attended reunions and follow by the family ‘tradition’ of visiting some relatives. I would say it is some how a dread to me. Seriously, I feel saddened that I have to go through such processs every year with all the waiting – plus the ‘nasty’ comments, suggestions and comparison. And what to be a family reunion, involves an extended family member with her family (who has so much gossip). With father in law and mother in law working, the Reunion dining seems not to be one – but for the pleasure of those who just want to eat. Not to forget, with kid(s) to handle plus their adult conversation that made my hubby so absorbed – it always me alone handling of kids. I feel like a dumb maid sitting by a side of the ‘family’ table.
What brought me to nerves was last year – we waited close to an hour for the divas. In between, my hubby was sort of ‘begging’ some food for me because I was hungry but to no avail – the answer ‘how to prepare abit of food?’ I feel humiliated – like a beggar. As those people arrived late, no.1 started turning restless and not forgetting that no.2 was just one month old – end up I did not get to eat and everyone was ‘enjoying’. The most annoying part – the lady who gave her daughter the phone to control her started questioning why we don’t just give in to our no.1. I was mad and said ‘are you crazy?’. Instead of hubby defending me, I was asked to keep quiet and we nearly got into a Cold War after that.
All these made me realise – why do I have to put myself into this situation ‘again’. We actually spoke about this – and hubby eventually gave me the discretion this year. I never stop him from going but he should not force me to go. Yes, hubby may be saddened by my choice but did anyone bother if I wasn’t happy over the years?
Life is too short to be unhappy over such event. And one day (the so called reunion and Chinese New Year day 1) shouldn’t spoil the rest of the year. I seriously hope Chinese New Year would be different from this year (2017) onwards – after more than a decade of being with the in laws. I don’t bother who hurt who in the past – but I want to move forward – without some people in the equation (of course). I want to make a difference in this – I need them to understand that if they want people to respect them, please respect us – time and individual (as in if you really want to have Reunion, please be seated to eat). I want them to respect our parenting approach and please respect our kids as unique individuals beyond comparison. It is not that I don’t want our kids to have this tradition – but they themselves aren’t truly practicing the tradition itself. Yes, ‘tradition’ has to continue but we will start a whole new way of tradition – so start with mama’s homecooked reunion (lunch) plus family time spent together.
There are always two sides to a coin – while some may think I would get karma from not celebrating with the elderly (no respect or whatsoever) – that is I didn’t lead by example; but I am teaching our kids self respect – respect our time and person.
Nothing is more important than my two precious:
My peaceful and happy reunion dinner with the girls: