Holiday Blog Event: Anne Tenino – Gotcha Day
I’d like to thank Andrew not simply for inviting me to be part of his holiday blogging extravaganza, but mostly for reminding me of one of my most significant holidays ever. It was Thanksgiving, 2002. I spent it with my husband, three-year-old daughter and mother-in-law in Hong Kong, where we went for a week before traveling on to mainland China to adopt our younger daughter.
2002 was actually my second holiday season in Hong Kong, and my husband and his mother had been there before, when his brother was living and working there. He and his girlfriend actually lived on an island about an hour outside of Hong Kong by ferry, called Cheung Chau (you can see it from Lantau for anyone who’s been there, but it’s very small). They had left Hong Kong back in 1997, but we went out to Cheung Chau to visit it for Thanksgiving in 2002 anyway.
Like countless Americans were probably also doing back home, we had Thanksgiving dinner in a Chinese restaurant. In our case, one that looked out over a beach, but the idea is the same.
But that’s not the end of my reminiscences. Because a few days after that holiday in Hong Kong, we left for Guangxi Zhuang, and met our other daughter in person for the first time. As a matter of fact, December 2nd is her official “Gotcha” Day—i.e., the day we legally became her parents under Chinese law. Many, many adoptive families celebrate their kids’ Gotcha Days, and for some it’s nearly as big a deal as a birthday.
We’re not one of those families. And that right there is what I’m thanking Andrew for specifically, reminding me that it’s our Gotcha Day.
Not that we’re callous parents, who can hardly remember our own wedding anniversary (which, FWIW, we only manage about every other year). We have a reason—it’s because while we were in Hong Kong eating stir-fried Thanksgiving mushrooms (freshly picked, in a delicate sauce), our younger daughter was still with her foster family, having her first birthday.
Kind of like the poor kids born too close to Christmas, our daughter’s Gotcha Day is so close to her birthday, we don’t celebrate it, and we often don’t even remember it. Leading to loads of parental guilt. Today, thinking about writing this post, I asked her if she knew the significance of the date, and she looked at me blankly.
“It’s your Gotcha Day.”
She raised a single, interested eyebrow (indicating only mild interest—serious interest takes both brows). “Huh. Really?”
“Yeah. Um, do you know why we never celebrate it?”
“Because it’s too close to my birthday.”
*Feeling almost let down.* “That would be why.”
So, here I am, raising the proverbial glass in a belated Thanksgiving Day toast. I’m thankful for my kids, who are pretty fun to be around. I’m thankful that while in Hong Kong in 2002 we had to change hotels at the last minute and therefore weren’t caught in the SARS outbreak. And I’m thankful that when I did come down with Salmonella, it was after we’d returned home from China
But mostly, I’m thankful my daughter doesn’t care that we usually forget her Gotcha Day.
When in China, we picked up a bunch of music and videos for the kids to watch (this would be the lazy parents’ language immersion method), and one was a Christmas VCD from The Twelve Girls Band, a group that plays traditional Chinese instruments. This song, “Last Christmas,” was one we listened to for years afterward during the holidays, until we lost the disc.
About The Author:
Raised on a steady media diet of Monty Python, classical music and the visual arts, Anne Tenino rocked the mental health world when she was the first patient diagnosed with Compulsive Romantic Disorder. Since that day, Anne has taken on conquering the M/M world through therapeutic writing. Finding out who those guys having sex in her head are and what to do with them has been extremely liberating.
Anne’s husband finds it liberating as well, although in a somewhat different way. Her two daughters are mildly confused by Anne’s need to twist Ken dolls into odd positions. They were raised to be open-minded children, however, and other than occasionally stealing Ken′s strap-on, they let Mom do her thing without interference.
Wondering what Anne does in her spare time? Mostly she lies on the couch, eats bonbons and shirks housework.
Check out what Anne’s up to now by visiting her site. http://annetenino.com