Another New Year But Not A New Me

It’s 11:00 p.m. on my sixty-third New Year’s Eve and my husband has been snoring for an hour. The dog is also snoozing but once the neighbors start shooting their guns at midnight, he will go mad with a frenzy of barking. I’m sitting on my bed clicking the keys on my almost new iPad keyboard. I’m not a party person. I’ve only had a few truly memorable celebrations to usher in a new year.

One year, when my boys were just toddlers, we had a New Year’s Eve surprise visit from a couple we barely knew. They had no kids and stayed until 3:00 a.m., despite the fact that all I offered them to drink was water, milk, or a juice box. I made hors d’oeuvres out of saltines and cheese singles but they didn’t eat many of them. My youngest son was wide awake two and a half hours after they left and, if I’d had their phone number, I would have called them to cheerfully say good morning.

While my kids were in grade school, we hosted an annual New Year’s Eve party and invited all of their cousins. We always played a loud, rowdy, cutthroat game of Brain Quest to determine which gender was the smartest. Sorry boys, but the girls won hands down every year. Each party had a theme but I can only remember the year we had a bake-off and made hand-painted aprons. We drank sparkling cider and blew horns at the stroke of midnight, then I would scoot them off to bed, never really relaxing until the last child was picked up the next morning.

We started one year off with a new nine-year-old foster kid who arrived at four in the morning, sadly holding an uneaten Egg McMuffin and a plastic bag containing a few of his personal belongings. The fear in that poor child’s eyes haunts me to this day. His mother had left him home alone while she went partying, something she didn’t limit to one special night a year.

In 2010, I took my three oldest kids to Dublin for New Year’s Eve. It snowed. It was not a lot by West Virginia standards but traffic in Dublin came to a halt. After dinner and some foot stomping music, we had a tough time finding a cab to take us back to the hotel. From there, I had made up my mind to walk to a church where, according to a tour book, Dublin rang in the New Year with a medley of bells and a cheering crowd. Sure enough, when we arrived, the street was barricaded, and there were people milling about. There might have been twenty people, but that is probably an exaggeration. By then, we were doing some foot stomping to keep our toes warm, and all of us were tired. At midnight, the church bell disappointingly clanked a few times and that was it. It took me awhile to get warm enough to fall asleep.

New Year’s resolutions have never worked for me. Some past resolutions included:

*Lose weight. Fat chance of that happening! I didn’t get all porky and pudgy on December 31 so maybe I should have been working on the lose weight thing long before January first rolled around.

*Be nice to my teenagers. Seriously? That nice thing is a two-way street and, during adolescence, their side was apparently lined with stop signs.

*Exercise. Oh, heavens, I’ll continue my typing when I’m done laughing.

*Clean my house more often. This one is a lost cause through no fault of my own. I’m pretty sure that my dog has resolved to stomp muddy paw prints across my freshly mopped floor and my husband to dirty more dishes the second I have them all washed, dried, and put away. They appear to be much better at keeping their resolutions than I am.

The guns have started and Pepper is doing his bark and protect run through the house. It must be time to wish you all a healthy, and Happy, New Year! I hope it’s a few steps better than normal!

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