I couldn't let yesterday's post be the way I ended the year. Not that I feel badly about it, quite the opposite, but I just didn't want that to be the note I went out on. So, bear with me.
While I can't really remember a New Year's Eve of the last ten or so years that has been much to crow about, the New Year's Eves of my childhood were magical. My little brother was born on NYE, so each year my parents threw a party. They would invite my extended family and their friends, and there was always plenty of food and cake. When the birthday part was over, the adults would play board games and watch movies while we kids did whatever it was kids did at the time. I don't know that I lasted until midnight that often, but when I did, it was equal parts embarrassing and fun to see our parents hug and kiss and celebrate the coming of a squeaky-clean year.
As we got older, the kids declared the need for our own celebration, and I remember one year in particular. I would have been in eighth grade, thirteen (always young for my grade). My friends and I got permission to go across the field and have our own after-dinner celebration at my cousins' house. We thought we were big stuff. Four teenage girls, five or six older teenage boys goofing off with no parents. It was the stuff of coming-of-age films. (Not the crappy ones now with too much, too soon. It was a celebration, not an after-school special.) I remember watching Field of Dreams with my first teenage crush, wishing desperately for my first kiss (which I didn't get). And laughing, oh how we laughed. When I think of New Year's Eves, that's the one I always think of. Not a party dress, confetti-littered, Hollywood-manufactured image, but one of laughing with friends in our early-90's clothes and big hair, hoping for a midnight kiss.
The years have come gone. The kids of that night now have kids of their own. We've lost parents, gotten married, gotten divorced, experienced highs and lows that we never could have imagined then. And if we could have, would we have wanted to? I think that's the real beauty of a new year. We don't know what's going to happen. Chances are, it will be a mixed bag. And that has to be okay. Each moment is golden if you hold it in the right light. The mystery is part of the beauty. And the kids will be alright.