By Susan Tan
As a child, I was enthralled by traditions.
I loved them, from going to Hebrew school, to my parent’s tradition of letting us eat ice cream for dinner on April Fool’s day, to the way we lined our shoes up in straight, neat rows before going inside my Nai Nai and Ye Ye’s apartment.
This love of traditions has lasted into my adult life, and I often wonder if my family and our traditions are the reason that I write. My mother’s family is Jewish, and came over from Russia several generations ago. My father’s family is Chinese and Christian, and my Ye Ye was an evangelical Christian minister. I’ve inherited a rich family history that teems with stories, from my grandparents’ accounts of their close escape from Communist China with my father as an infant, to the stories my mother’s mother tells of Passover Seders all in Hebrew and Yiddish, with linen napkins so big they spilled from your lap to the floor. We’re also a family that continually generates new narratives, because when you ask your evangelical minister grandfather to please come up to say an Aaliyah at your Bat Mitzvah, that simple act is, in itself, a pretty excellent story.