I used to enjoy Chinese New Year when I was a little girl because there'll be a lot of goodies to eat and best of all, to receive money all wrapped in red packets from my family and relatives. The fun of course, diminishes when I got married. Then it was my turn to give the ang-paus or red packets. Used to spend about rm300 just for that.
Of course, when I got divorced, the first Chinese New Year without a husband was sheer bliss. I no longer had to slave in the kitchen, preparing traditional dishesa and desserts. Also no need to give angpau to every child who came to the house with the excuse that I had got myself 'unmarried' ( how cruel of me, hehehe). Although stung with the stigma of being a divorcee, I had a good time.
On the other hand, my first one as a Muslim was a quiet one. I spent it in my university hostel alone, because I had nowhere to go. I wasn't unhappy but I missed the warmth of home, the decorations I used to put up in my own house and the traditional dishes that are cooked once a year. Yet I survived the season, and grew stronger spiritually.
This year, I am a wife, and a Chinese Muslim daughter-in-law. My husband who has returned from hajj gives me the liberty of celebrating this coming Chinese New Year the way I see fit. Problem is, I haven't really decided how. My mother who is still phobic of appearing in public with me in a tudung had suddenly called and invited me to join her for the reunion dinner. I consulted my dear husband and we agreed to not only go, but also to pay for the dinner.
There is a big issue to be settled. Mum hasn't met my husband but she knows who he is, having met him before when I was still a non-Muslim. She does not approve of my marriage because she'd still refuses to believe that I chose to leave everything for Islam. Perhaps she finds it easier to blame my husband as my reason for reverting to Islam. I on the other hand, needed a new man in my life. I was afraid of doing bad things and getting tricked by men I didn't really know. I needed a good practising Muslim, a strong, responsible and loving man who is knowledgable and can guide me in Islam. And Alhamdulillah, Allah swt brings me a man who fits my criteria. Knowing that seeking Mum's blessings will be futile at that time, and not wanting to aggrievate her sickness (she was unwell then) we sought his parents' blessing and tied the knot in a small ceremony, almost a year after my reversion to Islam. We invited Mum but she didn't attend the wedding reception, citing she wasn't feeling well.
My Mum's emotions are still unstable. I don't know how things will be when husband and Mum meet at dinner on Chinese New Year eve. She might nag and scold both of us in front of my husband's parents (we invited them along to meet Mum) and cause unpleasant feelings all around. Frankly speaking, I'm nervous. I wish I could have the dinner in my house instead of a halal restaurant but my present temporary nest is small and unsuitable. I just want the dinner to be a happy occasion where both sides of our families meet. After listening to my brother's narrow-minded rantings today, I'm not sure it's a good idea anymore. It might turn out to be a disaster.
To go or not to go to the reunion dinner ?
To risk public scoldings or play safe by cancelling the event?
I just don't know... dah bingung.