Thursday, February 03, 2011

Happy New Year

One year, shortly after Squink was born, we happened to be in San Francisco during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Though my in-laws had little interest in seeing the festivities, it is something that is hard to miss as there is something in the air that just seems ephemerally "new year-ish".
One of my favourite life memories is from that trip and involves the Chinese New Year.
We were taking the bus to the Pier and Squink and I sat next to a woman. Squink instantly flirted with her and when she got up to leave she handed him a red envelope.The envelope followed the tradition of having a freshly crisp $1 bill inside.
So, why do I write about this, you may be thinking....
Well, the gesture stopped me in my tracks. It was unexpected.
I think what I found so fabulous about that gesture what that is crossed cultures. There was a part of me that just assumes that when there is a cultural celebration that one tends to celebrate it with fellow members of that culture... to the exclusion of those who do not.
So this woman made a gesture to Squink that was inclusive, that brought him (and by extension me as his mother) into the festivities and ceremony.
How many times have I felt like I could not participate in something because my skin was a different color or I thought differently... sadly, more than I care to admit and equally sadly, mostly in this country. And then I wonder if I have inadvertently excluded someone from something because they did not belong to the "right" group... I hope I have never done this, exclude people from times I consider joyful... because just that simple gesture by a stranger in a San Francisco bus still resonates with me
And yes, I am also pondering the meaning behind this and how it relates to our world... for example; when a stranger wishes someone a merry Christmas, it can be equally as strong... (though the propagandization (is that a word?) of the holiday, I think, may diminish its strength).

1 comment:

Patricia Tryon said...

What a lovely story. Thank you for putting it here.

And, alas, I think propagandization is a word. If it isn't, it should be and this case demonstrates exactly why.

Happy New Year!