Tuesday, October 15, 2013

what we did this holiday

the second monday in october is recognized by different people in different ways.

some of my twitter peeps were celebrating canadian thanksgiving.

residents of reston had just wrapped up their annual oktoberfest weekend.

it's columbus day in the u.s., a federal holiday, which means the kids were off from school and the library was closed.

now, diana and i have used this day as a reading/discussion starter about christopher columbus and an investigation of history itself, so we are well familiar with controversies about what, in fact, he did or did not do.  we are not as outraged as some people we know, who would prefer to celebrate bartolome day.  we did things a little differently.

ander had "learned" about columbus and the names of his three ships in school, so, naturally, he built a ship from legos.  but, he confused it with the mayflower in the schoolhouse rock video he was watching, so i'm really sure which ship he was building after all.  he was most excited, though, that there would be a day off from school to celebrate columbus.  i have to wonder exactly what it was he heard, though, because he asked me in the morning, "when will columbus come to leave us presents?"  you know, like santa or the easter bunny.  oh, boy.

ander's day off from school involved the wearing of his polar bear pajamas all day.  also the making of two new batches of slime because the rest of it had dried out.  and watching some of his favorite videos.  he selected "holidays for children: kwanzaa" because he likes the drumming and dancing and the unity cup and the rituals presented in it.  he asked for a kwanzaa feast for dinner.  ok then.

we were gone all day sunday, visiting family in charlottesville, so we didn't get to partake much of the crockpot pork loin i had cooked for our traditional sunday dinner (served on china with fancy table linens).  i set the sunday table on monday instead, preparing the pork with peas and sauerkraut and declared that we would have a columbus day/oktoberfest/kwanzaa/canadian thanksgiving day feast.  the kids ate only the dinner rolls steve had made from scratch, but that's pretty much par for the course around here.  i ate two helpings of everything.

the very, very best part of the day, though, was diana's exclamation that christopher columbus had arrived and left us presents while we were feasting!  on each of our beds was a map, each different, but all representing where exactly columbus had landed on each of his multiple voyages towards the new world.  ander's taking his to school to show his classmates.  that'll raise some eyebrows.

i was speechless and my heart was full of love.  this young woman has so enjoyed the unusual traditions we have in our home that she created one especially for her brother.  it is in the spirit and style of us with her own signature quirkiness and emerging sense of satirical humor.  i feel like she has graduated to a new level of family participation, able both to immerse herself in the magic and wonder of our communal imagination and to design it for the benefit of others.  she amazes me.

and, for new reasons, i will never look at columbus day in quite the same again.

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