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Friday, February 4, 2011

Tears and Red Envelops

I received an upsetting (but completely justified) email from the Tongginator's teacher yesterday afternoon, so instead of struggling to create an Incredible Feast, we headed to our favorite local Chinese restaurant. It's our favorite restaurant because the food doesn't make my food allergy self sick AND because, on the first anniversary of our adoption day, the restaurant staff surprised us with a cake that read "Happy Girl Day." Our favorite server Mr. A was not there because of the holiday, but his cousin was. We chatted with him for a bit while we enjoyed a delicious Chinese New Year meal.

Mr. A's cousin - who does not know us very well, since he only recently moved to town - grew teary-eyed when looking at the Tongginator, mentioning several times how happy and loved she appears. I told him that we were very blessed to be her parents, and he became visibly emotional as he watched her sitting in the booth, eating and chatting with Tonggu Daddy. His few words about her... about adoption... did not feel offensive at all - neither to us as adoptive parents nor to the Tongginator as an adoptee. Actually, it called to mind that scene in Lisa Ling's documentary "Lost Girls of China" when the male bystander in the park became emotional talking about the children living in orphanages. Do y'all remember that part of the film?

We had our own experience with that last night.

When we left the restaurant, the Tongginator paused to tell the manager "新年快乐 (xin nian kaui le)!" or "happy new year!" in Mandarin. The manager stopped us from leaving, then went into the back and came out with a red envelop, filled with a crisp $10 bill, for the Tongginator. Not only that, but I watched as several servers and bus boys slipped single dollars out of their tip aprons to fill a second envelop for my little gal as well.

She. Absolutely. Beamed.

And then announced to one and all, "they gave me more money than you and Daddy did."

Oh, how I wished she'd just said, "新年快乐!"

(And... as for the email I received from her teacher... more on that early next week. I think. The Tongginator and I will be having a conversation this afternoon about said email, so please say a prayer for me. We held off talking with her because of the holiday and because she needs more than one night of mommy and daddy time to process our talk. Also, please say a prayer for all of us as we navigate through a loss-of-privileges weekend. Cuz that? Is always FUN.)


Cedar said...

Oh, that is beautiful and sad and sweet and happy. We went to our favorite Chinese restaurant Thurs., also. We watched "Lost Girls of China" this week, so I do remember "that part".

Prayers for you all.

Buckeroomama said...

新年快乐 to you and yours!

That was so sweet of Mr. A's cousin and the staff. It's unexpected moments like these that just totally warms the heart.

(Is it that time of the year when teachers send emails out to parents? I received one from J's teacher, too, which made us sit up and re-evaluate how we offer up praises and affirmations.)

Aus said...

Well - Gung Hey Fat Choy! (I'll save you looking it up - "Health and Prosperity" and my spelling sucks - can't spell in English either)!!

As for the e-mail - so not only did T step in something - but she got it on the carpet too....well....I think the expression my mom used to use was calling this 'growing pains'!

She'll survive - not that it makes it any easier for you - but she'll survive and be better for it!

hugs - aus and co.

autumnesf said...

We had a place like that in Omaha and I miss it. The staff/owners were from the same city as Mouse.

And the email thing?

It only gets worse with age.

lmgnyc said...

We had take out. DH brought it home.

Good luck with the e-mail and you don't have to share any more than you want to. Some stuff is not for us internetters.

Johnny said...


happygeek said...

Isn't it amazing how taking away privileges punishes us as much as them?

So glad you had a good last supper:)

Briana's Mom said...

Xin Nian Kuai Le to you! What a sweet story about dinner. Well, until the money comparison part. ;D

I'll be saying a prayer for all of you.

Shirlee McCoy said...

What a sweet, sweet story.

Hold onto it as your dishing out consequences this week. I'll be praying for you.

jennifer said...

THat is amazing!! What an incredible experience for you and for the employees of that restaurant...so moving!

Sorry about the school issue...those are always fun (as are punishment weeks!!). Praying it is received well!

E said...

What a sweet story. Especially because it was totally from the Tongginator's heart (read no prompting from the 'rents)! Here's hoping "the talk" goes o.k. and that the loss of privileges weekend doesn't do you all in!

Girly Girl Mommy said...

What a special evening!

And the email- I don't put stuff in writing if I can just talk with the parent, and I have had several conversations with parents of my students this week. Something wonky is going on with my kids! Is it the "we are comfortable with you so we are testing boundaries" time of year already?
Best wishes with your talk!

The Byrd's Nest said...

Why is it when we have to punish our children, we end up being punished?? lol

Sounds like a wonderful evening. Here, adoption is such a foreign concept that it is all we talk about. I don't mind of course...it is one of my favorite subjects but it brings people to tears here also and they are not even Asian...it is really sweet.

Annie said...

Oh TM, that is so sweet! I would have been in tears!! I will pray for wisdom in your conversation and courage in the upcoming loss of privaledge's weekend!

Heather said...

Sounds like that, despite the glich, in plans, it was the better event at the Chinese restaurant! I so wish we had a decent one around here. Good Thai is the closest we can get. Have fun with the "loss-of-privileges" weekend. Those are just so (wink wink) fun!

Wendy said...

Loved the story. It brought tears to my eyes. So sweet.

Mei Ling said...

I'm starting to wonder if CNY is mostly celebrated by Cantonese speakers or mainly by those who come from Cantonese regions. Or if Mandarin speakers celebrate it on a different day.

Everywhere at work and at the Mandarin last night, people were saying "Kung Hei Fat Choy", not "Xin Nian Kuai Le."

Chris said...

What a special evening!

I have had the same kind of conversation with people from China....very emotional. It is such an insightful perspective and realization.

I think I am going to dig out my "Lost Girls in China" DVD....it might be good for us to watch it again.

I will be praying for you as you figure out the best course of action for Little T! Never an easy thing to do....taking away privileges....sigh.

Nicole said...

Happy New Year!

And good luck, sorry about the email.

Sunday Koffron Taylor said...

Thanks for making me cry.

As far as loss of privileges goes, it is always harder on me than it is for them. She’ll be fine, I’ll pray for you!

Erica said...

that's awesome and much better than the way I made my money when I was little.

sara said...

I can see why that's a favorite place. How sweet. And good luck!!

courtney rose said...

Super sweet....

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

Ugly cry alert!

kitchu said...

how wonderful. i have missed out on so much TM. i don't know what is happening in your life or in hers. i have a lot of reading to do.