Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year's Greetings

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie's a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak' a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
--Robert Burns, Auld Lang Syne

I've always been a fan of the New Year as a holiday celebration. Much in the same way I'm a fan of the build up to really big storms, the night before vacations, the anticipation is almost worth more to me than the payoff. It isn't a matter of having the snow day, but "Will we have the snow day?"

I love that anticipation. Few storms I've lived through have been as big as I've expected, partly I think because I have a very childlike fascination in observing them. I can't wait for the huge storms. I can't wait to walk around in them, and come back in to watch from my windows from the safety of the house. That's a bit nutty, I'll admit, but it's an attitude that makes New Year's Eve seem like a really big event.

I mean, that number at the end of the date doesn't change very often. In fact, it takes like three hundred and sixty five days for that number to change! That's crazy.

I love staying up, holding up a flute of champagne and watching the ball drop. Growing up my family was not much for celebrating this holiday. From about the time I was thirteen I would stay up by myself, often times playing video games with friends. We'd pause around twelve thirty, they'd go off to celebrate the passing year's last moments, and the new year's earliest moments with their families. I'd sit in my room, and I'd watch the ball on my little Panasonic TV. My family was of the sort to go to bed around ten o'clock. They didn't see much of the sense in staying up for the holiday.

As an adult, I've really enjoyed counting down with friends. When I was in college and lived away from home, we'd re-open our apartment off campus with a big New Year's bash. We'd drink, play games, and just generally enjoy eachother's company. It was an excellent time.

In recent years my family has come around, and we've been going to wine dinners on New Year's Eve, which is really nice. My wife and I don't really have the means to attend such things ourselves, and it is a real act of generosity on the part of my family. The dinner is usually incredible (and one of the only times all year I eat meat) and they usually have a band to play in the new year at midnight. It has been a lot of fun to dance in the New Year.

I remember as a small child looking through the old photo albums my mother had. She had a card for the new year in there, a classic old-New England-looking card with a whimsically drawn door a la Capra's "Its a Wonderful Life" with a brief poem about the New Year holiday. I may see if I can find the card to include at some point. To me the image has always been a big part of my nostalgia for the holiday.

This year things are, of course, slightly different.

The plan is to get together with some of our child's godparents and do a dinner of our own. Chinese food takeout, perhaps with a glass of wine, or champagne. The drinking won't be the emphasis, as it has been in past years.

We'll have plenty of folks around to supervise the wee one, and my wife may even be able to pass her off for a bit so she can nap. It will be tremendous to be able to ring in the new year and this new start with friends who are so close that they feel as if they are family.

Will we be totally sleep deprived? Absolutely. No doubt. But the struggles we share as a family will no doubt bring us closer.

I hope you have a good New Year with your loved ones, however you choose to celebrate, and I hope your new year is filled with peace, love, and music.

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