Another New Year’s Eve is here already. The older I get, it seems as though each year flies by more quickly than the last. Some of those years presented events that were uplifting and life changing, a graduation, a promotion, the start of a romance, a marriage, the birth of a child; other years were life changing in a sadder way, the loss of a loved one, the end of a friendship, a change in financial fortunes. Most years were a mix of both.
How I celebrate New Year’s Eve has changed over the years. As a child New Year’s Eve was always a family event. My sister, two brothers and I dressed in our party clothes and the evening began with the six of us sitting around the kitchen table enjoying a feast that mom prepared. After dinner and after the dishes were washed, dried and put away, we gathered in front of the Christmas tree and watched holiday programs on the black and white TV. Although we were allowed to stay up until midnight, we all fell asleep way before the midnight hour and dad carried us upstairs to our bedrooms one-by-one as we each lost the struggle to stay awake.
As a teenager I begged to spend the night at sleepovers at friends’ homes where we would make prank telephone calls, eat too much junk food, drink too much soda and listen to the latest records on portable record players.
After high school and during the early years of my marriage New Year’s Eve was date night, a time to buy a party dress, expensive shoes and join five or six other couples for a night of dancing, good food and way too much to drink. Eventually there came a time when getting dressed and going out into the cold, cold night was less inviting and staying home sitting in front of the fireplace and sharing a few glasses of good wine was more appealing.
Then I discovered skiing and spent New Year’s Eve in snow covered lodges. Although my body was weary from the day of exercise the warmth of the roaring fire, the comfort of the overstuffed chairs and quiet conversations with friends made for memories I will never forget.
When my son came along we celebrated New Year’s Eve in Lake Placid, NY, for the first five years of his life. I can still see him lying in the snow making snow angels, bundled up in his light blue snowsuit, wearing big red “moonboots,” red mittens snapped to his cuffs and a scarf tied tight around his neck. After a late afternoon nap we would walk around the village on New Year’s Eve looking at the holiday lights and watching the huskies pull sleighs filled with tourists across the frozen lake. As my son grew up, his dad and I divorced, and I went to work full time. While my son spent New Year’s Eve with friends, either at their homes or ours, I found myself lapsing into my childhood days of falling asleep before midnight.
Since then New Year’s Eve has been spent at small house parties, maybe dinner and a movie with family or a friend, an occasional date, but mostly, I like New Year’s Eve at home. One more quiet night in front of the Christmas tree before it’s taken down and the decorations are put away until next year.
However you spend New Year’s Eve I hope you have fun and stay safe. I hope 2013 brings you happiness and joy, good health and prosperity. With all its surprises, may 2013 be a good year for all of us.