A few weeks before Christmas, N (age 6) and I were talking about the upcoming holiday. He had recently watched a few movies with plot lines where the main character "saves" Christmas, so we were talking about whether that could ever happen. Movies and other holiday propaganda often send the message that the "true meaning" of Christmas is family, so we were talking through our belief that, although we love to be with family at Christmas, it is not actually about family: it is about Jesus. At this point in the conversation N turned to me and asked, "Mommy, is there a holiday that's just about family?" I thought about it for a minute and had to shake my head, I couldn't think of one. "Can we make our own?" he asked. "We could call it Family Day! Can it be tomorrow?" Man, I love that kid.
J and I had already decided to call the anniversary of Z's arrival "Family Day," but N's questions made me think about it in a new light. What if we broadened the celebration beyond Z's adoption and just took a day every year to simply celebrate our family? After all, if we're going to call it Family Day, then that's what it should be about. We'll still mark February 28 as a special day for Z - the day he met his brothers, the day he arrived at his new home, the day our family was all together for the first time.* But Family Day will be for all of us, a chance to celebrate the work of God in our lives, bringing us together, giving us each other, making us a family.
This celebration will almost certainly morph and change with our family over the years, but we're kicking it off with two traditions: an overnight getaway and a video 'yearbook.' Each year we'll videotape the kids answering a few simple questions about themselves, asking them the same questions each year to show how they change over time. For now we'll celebrate in February, since that's when our family became complete, but if/when God gives us more children maybe the time of year will change.
So... tomorrow is Family Day and we're going to Great Wolf Lodge! The big boys are over the moon already and Z is feeding off of their excitement even though he doesn't know what's coming. He absolutely loves the water, so I'm pretty confident that once he gets over the noise (it's pretty loud in there with all the waterfalls and splashing and whatnot), he's gonna have a ball. We'll swim, slide, play, rest, and give glory to God for blessing us with one another. Happy Family Day!
*FYI in case you're interested, tentative plans for February 28 include: doro wat, injera, popcorn, and some quality time with the boys watching videos, looking at pictures, and telling stories about our trips to Ethiopia. Oh, and thanking Jesus for a precious boy and a miraculous year together.