New Beginnings And New Endings
31 Dec 2018
Same Old Nonsense
On the cusp of new beginnings, New Year’s Eve was a whirlwind of activity. Playing it safe, we mainly hung out with friends who wouldn’t mind our children’s nonsense.
Even Older Nonsense
After sending the children back, we then quickly said hello to old friends who wouldn’t mind our nonsense. Midnight came & went: Somewhere on the island, fireworks were going off while we celebrated with a quiet round of champagne. And then, like the old couple we are, we called it a night and whirled home to hug our dogs.
1 Jan 2019
On New Year’s Day, M5 & I went to a church wedding to celebrate a couple’s new union. This was our second wedding of the week after Remembering What Love Means In Hong Kong.
As I congratulated the beautiful mother of the bride, Evelyn, I couldn’t help but wonder about my own kids growing up. Specifically, whether their milestones would include marriage. I mean, when our parents were young, it was the norm to meet a guy, get married & have kids. Consequently, many of the choices they make for our generation are to prepare us for that. Stereotypical gender-stratified toys and color-coded clothes for instance. Even when little girls laugh with their mouths wide open, they’re told not to because no man would marry them. Now there are so many possible endings for a girl which may not include meeting a guy, marriage or kids and if so, not necessarily in that order.
And so when M5 asked me, “Mama when I grow up will I get married?” I said sincerely, “Only if that would make you happy.” After that loaded question, when she followed up with, “Mama if I get married, may I have a dress like hers?” I laughed and simply said, “Yes.”
2 Jan 2019
Meanwhile, we had other new beginnings to prepare for, and that was the (dreaded) first day of Primary School. Thankfully, Day One was a breeze. I hung around at recess time to comfort her should there be tears. Although her kindergarten schoolmates came up to me to chat excitedly, my own daughter sat for a very long time primarily focused on her snack. When she finally looked up and spotted me, she threw me a casual wave, packed her things and walked off. I felt a wave of emotion, although I’m not sure if it was pride at her independence or regret for wasting my time.
There’s a set of starter books I enjoy reading to my kids including Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tales & Ladybird books. Certainly there may be some stereotypical characters & outdated story arcs leading to happy endings with Prince Charming. Regardless, I do enjoy the books as I remember my parents reading them to me. I guess when we read them to the next woke generation, it is for historical reasons. Hopefully our actions & reality will put things in perspective for them.
Similarly, I enjoy The Little Men & Little Miss series for their humorous one-dimensional cartoons. When La Mer sent a set of 35 books to the kids to launch their #LoveLaMer campaign, we couldn’t wait to read every single one. We laugh about the kids being best represented by various characters. M4 says M5 is Little Miss Bossy which makes her cross because she wants to be the agile Little Miss Somersault.
Well, my brave little girl, you can be anybody you want if you put your mind to it. But contrary to what most greeting cards & polite people say, I won’t wish merely success. Instead, I hope you’ll be blessed with resilience. Little Miss Resilient, I think, who gets up when she falls.
There are many things in life we cannot easily alter. Perhaps it’s circumstances you’re born into, or commitments made. While it’s impossible to change old beginnings, you can author new endings.
Happy New Year.