January 4, 2016
My husband Andy asked why we bother to celebrate the New Year. Andy’s not much of a party-guy. He pointed out, “It will still be 2016 tomorrow morning even if we allow the kids to go to bed at their normally scheduled time.” With a mischievous look, he added, “Two of them aren’t that stable with telling time yet, after all.” You see, to ring in 2016, my mother invited us to her house. My siblings and their charming families would be in attendance. By nature, Andy is a homebody, and the thought of leaving our house on the evening renowned for drunk drivers left him twitchy.
Indeed, the year would advance whether or not we marked the occasion with clinking glasses and banging pots and pans. He acquiesced with a sigh, though. Our College Girl had plans of her own, and Bear’s anxiety reached a crescendo with a regrettably familiar cacophony. We fought Bear’s inevitable agoraphobia and navigated the difficult topography of my parents’ busy road and landscaping to get everyone safely inside while juggling trays of party offerings. I bought a sparkling pear juice for the kids and me, and our cheeseball and appetizers tasted delicious. Once we arrived at our destination with its familiar surroundings and welcoming faces, Bear calmed. Curlygirl and Little Man clasped hands with their cousins and dove into fun. With good food, drink, and companionship we rang in the New Year.
After the magic hour, we took our leave. Bear fell asleep on the way home. We ushered the youngest of our clan through their bed time rituals. Little Man fought sleep until Andy jokingly considered duct taping his five year old enthusiasm to the bed.
As we snuggled together, I answered Andy’s question. We celebrate the New Year not for superstition’s sake. Nothing bad will happen if we don’t. Our fortunes don’t hinge on the activities. We nod to the traditions as a sort of fellowship with our fellow man and with our ancestors who initiated the conventions that mark the occasion. Worries mire many days, but we set aside a bit of time to forget our worries, if only for the span of a dropped ball sparkling on our television. Our voices chorus Auld Lang Syne like so many before us, that old acquaintances ne’er be forgotten, that we in turn be remembered.
Before I closed my eyes, I kissed his champagne-laced lips and prayed for a better 2016 for all.
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