Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year Reflections

We're back from our winter wonderland trip to the Great White North, and now that LL is sleeping peacefully in his crib, I have a few moments to reflect. But only a few, because I've been up for 19 hours and counting, including several on airplanes and several more wandering around what has to be the worst organized airport in the country, waiting out a weather delay. I'm really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight. The really fun stories from the trip, about LL and his cousins and Chanukah and snow, will have to wait for later in the week. For now, I need to get down my feelings about the New Year.

We spent New Year's Eve with my parents, my brother, M, and my sister-in-law, A. After all four kids were asleep, we played poker and ate New Year's foods. (It was a pretty random food assortment -- my dad always eats herring, M and A wanted shrimp cocktail, and S and I made soba.) We also had a bottle of champagne that was leftover from my wedding.

As midnight approached, S and I made the soba and poured the champagne and turned the television to the coverage of the ball dropping in Times Square. We kissed and told each other how much we were looking forward to 2009. Meanwhile, M and A and my parents groaned about how late it was, and how silly the Times Square thing was, and how this was just another night so what was the big deal? M complained about the weather. My parents were fighting about ... something minor .... Mainly, they all made fun of me and S. I finally had to ask them to just let us have our moment.

I spent several New Year's Eves in a row going out to parties while just feeling sad that I wasn't home with a baby. 2007, in particular, really sucked, and a year ago I was thrilled to see it go. We got our positive pregnancy test on December 30 of 2007, but didn't get it confirmed by a doctor until January of 2008. So, even last New Year's Eve, while I was thrilled beyond belief at finally being pregnant, it was still really freaking early and I was still holding my breath. It was the latest in a series of years that felt like all we were doing was waiting.

This New Year's Eve, I finally didn't feel that way anymore. Instead, I feel like in 2008 we were really living our lives, enjoying life, growing closer and being happy. We had a wonderful 2008, and not just because of the pregnancy and the birth of LL. We also traveled a lot. Got to spend a lot of time with friends. Visited a lot with family. We paid off our second mortgage. We bought our first new car in ten years. S made some great career advances at work. I made terrific progress on my PhD, finally reaching ABD (All But Dissertation) status. We got our home into a de-cluttered state that I'm really proud of, and that no longer feels like it's decorated in cheap college dorm furniture style. And I feel like, as a couple, we learned to be more patient with each other. And we got better at making each other laugh during times of stress, putting us day-by-day on a much more even keel. Heck, even a presidential election finally went our way!

That's not to say that everything was perfect. S was in grueling physical therapy for the first half of the year, trying to recover from his knee surgery. My pregnancy wasn't always roses and sunshine. Learning to be parents, and dealing with how being parents has changed our relationships with our own parents, has been a challenge. And honestly, it feels like I spent most of 2008 in a slight panic, brought about in part by a continuous state of sleep-deprived haze.

Still, it felt wonderful to spend a New Year's Eve feeling more joy than sorrow. More hope than trepidation. More excitement than emotional exhaustion. When midnight rolled around and we kissed, we stayed that way for longer than we have for many New Year's, even though my parents and M and A were making fun of us the entire time. It's good to be hopeful again.

And I'll brush right past the fact that LL woke up screaming at 12:05am.


  1. I'm so happy for both you and S being able to enjoy your New Year's Eve. Even if your family members were acting out :-)

  2. Happy New Year! The fact that there is a LL to wake up at 12:05am bodes well for 2009 :)


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