Happy New Year! Celebrating at 12:05 a.m. on January 1, 2018:
Dylan, Jake, Chris, and Sarah.
Two thousand eighteen. I can hardly get my mind around it. As a teenager back in the late 1960s, I couldn't even imagine being alive in a year called 2018. The now-not-so-far-away year of 2020 was a far-distant date for science fiction, not real life. And, really, could any of us at that time have imagined we'd be in our sixties someday? For real?
Yet, here we are. 2018 has arrived, and I am a twice-divorced sixty-three-year-old retiree who has finally learned to let the dream go. All three of my children are independent and capable adults with their own homes and families, who love me but no longer depend upon me. And it's all good. Tough, sometimes, but in the end...good.
Jake's always-delicious homemade lasagna.
One of the great blessings I look forward to at each year's end is being able to see in the New Year with my children...at least, those who still live nearby. Unfortunately, I was still quite sick with flu for New Year's Eve. The fever and aches were gone and I was supposedly no longer contagious, but the congestion and cough were still painful, and the short walk from the couch to the bathroom required a stop to catch my breath.
However, as on Christmas Day, the kids were there to take the pressure off so I could just relax and enjoy being with them. Sarah came over after church to wash my dishes for me...the same piles of dishes we'd used for Christmas dinner six days earlier, still sitting in pretty much exactly the same places they'd been left on December 25th. Bless you, my angelic firstborn child!
Jake had to work on both Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, but after work on New Year's Eve he'd gone home and whipped up one-and-a-half pans' worth of his marvelous New York family recipe of lasagna. Then he brought it over around 7:00 that evening and put it in the oven to bake. Although I was still nauseous and couldn't eat much, what I did take was indescribably yummy...and I saved myself a good-sized slice for the next day!
Decadently gooey brownies for dessert, by Sarah.
Meanwhile, Sarah had prepared us a tray of baby carrots, celery sticks, sliced cucumber, and olives with some French onion dip, plus a bag of chips on the side, so we could snack while awaiting dinner. Dylan worked until 9:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve, so we didn't all sit down to eat until almost 9:30, after he'd arrived.
Sarah also baked the brownies and prepared the fudge I'd intended to make but just didn't have the stamina for. Unlike her amazingly perfect gravy on Christmas Day, Sarah's nemesis is fudge. She never feels like she can get it to the smooth texture she wants. You know, like those silky, shiny fudge platters you see in magazines. Thus, I always make the fudge this time of year...until now. While it's true that the top was a bit rough-looking, the part beneath was great: perfectly smooth and delicious as it's supposed to be. And every bite has been eaten and enjoyed!
Sarah's pan of fudge.
Fifteen minutes before midnight, we put on one of the TV programs showing the Times Square Ball in New York City so we could watch its descent at the stroke of twelve (although it had actually already fallen two hours earlier, when it was midnight on the Atlantic seaboard). The kids donned their party hats, including Chris's crazy homemade hat he'd made with his "consumers" at work, and we filled our plastic "champagne" glasses with nonalcoholic sparkling cider. Then we counted down the final seconds before shouting "Happy New Year!" and toasting the New Year with a clinking of glasses.
Welcome, 2018! You will bring us challenges and trials, along with difficult transitions and frightening uncertainties, but you will also bring hard-won successes and new beginnings and unforeseen joy. Happy New Year!