Today is Chinese New Year. The little nephew asked me to do something special on this day. He must be thinking of the Spring Festival in China. “Not a holiday not in US. We only have day off on holidays defined here, like Thanksgiving, Xmas, US Labor Day, US National Day, etc. We have to do in Rome as Romans do.” I explained to him. My children all grew up here without experiencing any Spring Festival celebrations, a part of Chinese culture that they had missed.
In fact, the bi-cultural children miss more than this. We do not celebrate the traditional holidays that average Americans entertain, like Thanksgiving and Xmas, even though we have day off on these occasions. Yet we cannot celebrate Chinese holidays when we have to work and kids have to go to school. On the invite-grandparent-to-school day, my children could only see other people’s grandparents but never their own. My daughter used to ask me for grandparents. “They are all in China, if they are still alive.” Yes, they grew up with only two parents and no aunts and uncles and grands, so much deprived in term of relatives.
After my son left for college, he made friends with some Asian students there and started enjoying those Chinese holidays there with these friends, having much more fun there than at home. I am glad he is bilingual in term of speaking and listening, which facilitate his interactions with other Chinese at school. It would comfort me a lot if this might compensate to some extent for whatever missed in his childhood at home.