Saturday, May 5
Kodomo no Hi (こどもの日）
(picture by Lau Sew)
Today is Children's Day (aka Kodomo no Hi). Our motley collection of koi no bori (carp flags; see above-though those are not ours) are flying, the kids ate kashiwa mochi (bean-filled rice cakes wrapped in salted oak tree leaves) and chimaki (mochi wrapped in bamboo leaves), drank Kodomo Beer (sparkling white grape juice), and have run around the neighborhood with their friends, accepting snacks from random grannies. It's a good day to be a kid.
Luca and I walked with the gang to the park where I was dazzled by the bright green leaves decking out all the limbs of the ginko trees. Luca has not protested against the pouch sling yet and slept the entire time. My injury was still a little sore but tolerable so I suspect it is getting better.
I forgot the memory card for the camera which is a shame since the neighborhood a few blocks over was having a little festival complete with cotton candy, candied apples, and shady looking girl band fan paraphernalia. Great scene for pictures, not so great for my easily-jacked-up kids.
It was our first time out as a family of six. It will get some getting used to, those stares of astonishment as people count all of us. It is similar to how people look watching clowns climb out of those tiny cars, especially since one of my crew is always lagging behind. Just as May Day was an appropriate day to be sprung from the hospital (the medical establishment, if you will), Children's Day is undoubtedly an appropriate day to make our first appearance as a large(r) family. Stares and all.
It is good to have a reminder to celebrate childhood. With four kids between the ages of almost-9 to 0, we often get caught in the eddy of parenting: the scoldings, the feedings, the diaper changes and potty training, the refereeing, the PTA meetings, the constant questions and negotiations. It is so exhausting that it is hard to hold onto the one fact that should help us focus on what really matters: that this is so temporary we can never fully appreciate the experience until it is too late. Kodomo no Hi offers us a short reprieve from the vortex of everyday parenting. Though we should do it everyday, those colorful fish flags are our signal that it is time to pause and appreciate this early portion of life, to be silly and laugh and blow bubbles and eat mochi, to play soccer and tag, to love and appreciate such a precious and fleeting time of life.
Happy Children's Day!