Today, we had one of the quietest Children’s Days I think we’ve probably ever had. Normally, the kids are in some kind of school program, usually one that involves about two months of daily rehearsals at their school, sequined costumes, heavy stage make-up for both boys and girls, and a big crowd of parents and grandparents all competing for limited plastic stool seating on the playground. There would also be a distribution of special mini Children’s Day cakes or other goodies from the teachers to the kids, and the expectation that we would be taking the kids to 去玩 – go do something fun. Like go to the zoo with 10,000 other children and parents.

For many years, I’ve actually enjoyed the renao atmosphere of Children’s Day. It was fun to see the kids perform, and to get caught up in the excitement of balloons and loud music and confetti. It was also really nice to be in a crowd that largely didn’t care about us as foreigners. Parents and grandparents were all focusing their camera phones on their own little darlings for a change.

This year, since neither Elsa nor Evan are in Chinese school, Children’s Day kind of snuck up on us. I knew June 1st was coming, but my reminder of what that meant really came this morning, when I heard groups of boys shouting and running around downstairs around 9 a.m. Why aren’t they in school? This isn’t a Saturday, is it? Then I quickly remembered what today was.

Next I quickly realized how happy I was that we didn’t have some program to go to, and that we weren’t planning to make any trips near the town center, where there might be balloons and loud music and confetti. I was very happy to just be at home with my kids.

Happy Children’s Day, no matter how loud or quiet your day may be!