Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Ten years ago, I was newly married, writing my dissertation, and had absolutely no idea what would befall us in the decade to come.  I remember that we went out early to celebrate with a glass of champagne and plate of pasta at our favorite Italian restaurant on the Hill, and then trekked back through the snow to our little (rented) two-bedroom house, hugged our dog, Watson, and stayed up late talking about our dissertations and planning what we would do when we both defended and went off to start our professional lives.

We were so confident that night.  We were prepared, after all.  We had stockpiled canned food, printed out our dissertations, and relied more on each other than our electronics.  There was not a single Y2K problem that would derail our careful planning.

Those were the days when you could plan your way out of anything.

But now, two kids, two cancers, two jobs, two grants, and too much later to even imagine, our life is a little less certain, a little less planned, and a lot more unpredictable.  On any given day, the two-year-old could derail plans as simple as metroing downtown to the museum, the five-year-old could come down with a fever, daddy’s colleagues across the ocean could call him into work, or mommy — well, we all know what happened to Mommy this decade.

And so, we start this decade differently.

This time around, we know that we are lucky.  We know that we are living on time that we don’t deserve, and that each moment is precious. We don’t rely on our own plans as much as we emphasize the joy that is possible in each day, starting and ending the day with kisses and a hug, and perhaps an extra I LOVE YOU enthusiastically started and returned by our own little boy choir and their parents.  We are still focused on our work, but we temper that with the joy, and live each day in a way that when we go to sleep at night, we sleep well.

We have learned that you don’t survive a decade by preparing for your own survival.

You survive — a decade, a day, a moment at a time — by reaching out to others, by celebrating the joy that waits to be discovered, and by being content in the togetherness that we are granted.

My husband has a saying that he recalls when we’re stuck in D.C. traffic, delayed, in the car when we’d much rather be someplace else.  Instead of being frustrated that we’re not already at dinner, at the party, at the museum, or at Grandma’s, he turns to us and says, “Oh, well, at least we’re all together.”  The first time he said it, it caught me off guard.  After all, I had planned the perfect day for us, and now traffic was ruining our plans.  But now I understand.  Being together is not a consolation — it is the whole damn point — and we can enjoy each other from car seats or stadium seats, in fancy pants or in diapers, and in sickness and in health.

As we celebrated New Year’s Eve last night with some of our favorite friendswhoblog, I looked around and was so, so grateful for the night, for the friends, and for the wonderful families who had joined together to join in the fun.  We had dinner, we had ice cream, we had noisemakers, we had everything to make the party perfect.  But with these friends, we could have been stuck in the car and it would have been fine.  We were together.

Happy New Year, friends.  I start this decade much less sure of the future than I was on 1/1/01, but I am confident that we will prevail — and enjoy — the years to come.  After all, we’re in this together.

13 Responses to Happy New Year!

  1. NYFriend says:

    Happy New Year to you too!

    Yes, it is the whole damn point. 🙂 It’s easy to forget that sometimes, and so important to remember it.

    Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

  2. Mr. Quimby and I started saying “at least we’re together” many years ago before we had to own a car when we would be huddled together at the metro or worse, at an outside bus stop. Thanks for the reminder – it’s even more true today !

  3. JessicaAPISS says:

    I feel blessed to be “all together” with you and your family, and feel the next decade was started on the most auspicious of blue moons with you and yours! Love you girl!

  4. Happy New Year to you too and I completely agree with Jessica! It was a true pleasure to spend some time with you and your family although I have to agree that we would have just as much fun stuck in the car with a paperclip! Here’s to the years to come and may every new year start like 2010 did! 🙂

  5. Stimey says:

    Well said and so true. Happy New Year!

  6. elesha says:

    So true ane so well said. Happy new year and a wonderful year.

  7. Kate says:

    He’s a wise man, your husband. And you are full of wisdom, too – hard-earned, to be sure, and I’m so grateful you share it.
    I notice your last decade started on 01/01/01… so it was only 9 years long? The pesky no-year-zero problem strikes again!
    In any case, a very Happy New Year to you and yours. And many happy returns.

  8. alice c says:

    At the moment when my own family will become more spread out because my son will be going to university I can vouch for the joy that just ‘being together’ brings. These times will become less frequent and more precious – thank you for the reminder not to waste them.

  9. clifford says:

    Watson. I believe I’ve been licked by/met Watson (nay Widow, however).

    Here’s to “being together” in stadium seats. Preferably someplace about 390 to dead center. Happy New Year girlfriend.

  10. kelly says:

    Cheers to a new decade!

  11. Amelie says:

    Happy new year!
    I am in a similar place to what you described at the beginning, newly married and (almost) dissertation-writing. Less confident though, as we’re starting to see how unplannable creating our own family is. But glad, very glad, to be together.

  12. Kerridwen says:

    I discovered you because of your blog about the bra meme. I believe every person has inherent worth and dignity, but . . . wow! you really seem like quite a person!

    You write, and live, beautifully. You’re inspiring.

    Thanks!

  13. amanda says:

    I am so glad that I have found you in this precious decade of my own life, when the schedules and aspirations can make me lose sight of the fact that each moment within the journey is a perfect arrival.

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