Jesse turns one this Friday. As it goes, the rest of the family had been pestering us to throw a party. Mom would make a 3-hour trip for her first grandson's first birthday. Mae's parents insisted that we do something - with cake and camera and all that jazz. My siblings threatened to throw their own party if we didn't. Aunties offered to cook their specials. Uncles offered to help out. Can you believe it? All for a little kid who probably doesn't even understand what the fuss is all about.
The first birthday is a big, big, BIG thing where Chinese are concerned. Very big. Back in the olden days, they'd roast their finest pig and cook their fattest chicken just to mark the day. Neighbours and family members would come and celebrate a child's transition from baby to toddler. They'd pray to their gods and ancestors and make offerings of thanksgiving in appreciation of the child's good health. And parents had to observe all sorts of customs and taboos. These days, it's more of just celebrating and eating.
We took care of Mom early. A couple of weeks back in Taiping, we bought a nice ice-cream cake, sang the song and we all ate cake.
Last week, however, was a whole new kettle of fish. Despite our best effort to keep things small and simple, that was just not to be. Despite inviting only family we ended up with guest list of almost 40 people - Jesse's cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, granduncles and grandaunts. And with such a big crowd, Jesse got a little clingy. So there we were buying stuff, preparing food, serving guests and pacifying the little guy.
There were so much we wanted to do but were just simply overwhelmed by the magnitude of the kid's birthday. We would have liked to invite friends. We would have liked to have games for the kids. Heck, we would have like to have shot more photos. We were so busy we didn't even manage to snap some nice pictures. *sniff*
Next year we're going to McDonald's. *sigh*