A few weeks ago I wrote about Jay’s 8th birthday and how he had a small party with only his best friend. And being an expat family that’s how most of his birthdays are spent, with SO, my wife, and I, and maybe one or two of his friends to help celebrate.
You see, the problem is, my parents and one brother are back in Australia, and my other brother and his family are in Canada. SO’s family, on the other hand, are all in Indonesia, Jakarta to be exact. Which creates the peoblem that we have to travel internationally to celebrate events with family. So as a result we tend to celebrate our birthdays a long way from our families. Except for Jay’s first couple of birthdays anyway. Christmas and Chinese New Year (SO is ethnically Chinese) are other times that we try to travel to see family, but I’ll write about them elsewhere.
Jay’s first birthday was a special event and so we decided to take him back to Jakarta to celebrate with family there and so he could begin spending time with his cousins (he has ten of them in Jakarta).
As a little background, SO comes from a big family and has 3 older sisters and 3 older brothers. And when we adopted Jay, we couldn’t take him out of Indonesia until all the paper work had been finalised, so he stayed with SO’s second oldest sister for a month until we could bring him home.
This is an important point, because part of our reasoning for taking him to Jakarta for his first birthday was so that she could spend that milestone with him. And we stayed with her family for that trip.
We all had a good time during that stay, although how much a 1 year od could remember it is questionable, but we do talk about it so he knows what happened even if he doesn’t really remember it.
It was an important occasion for all the family to. They got him a special cake and the whole family, about 25 people in all, went out for a special dinner together. The dinner was at a karaoke restaurant and we all embarrassed ourselves by singing. Even I went up and sang a couple of Indonesian pop songs while holding Jay. He was my shield and I felt protected holding him. And if you knew me, you’d know what a huge deal it was for me to sing in front of people, even if they are family.
It really was a great time and showed Jay’s acceptance into the family. It was also when he started to bond and form relationships with his cousins, and even though we’re a thousand miles away from them he’s very close with several of them and he always looks forward to seeing them when we visit or when they come to visit us.