Ushering in a new year

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

My dearest E.,Celebrating a new year is a significant event for most people. On New Year’s Eve, the very last day of a year, celebrations are rife. Fireworks, drinking and merry-making, traffic jams, large crowds. I remember when I used to be a part of that crowd, years ago when I was young and full of energy. These days, I reserve my energy for a quieter New Year’s Eve. I also attribute this lack of interest in the new year to aging. Besides, one year is no different from another. We are capable of effecting change on a constant basis, new year or not. I have done away with new year’s resolutions: after all, one can make a resolution at any time and at any place.

Do you know why keeping a new year’s resolution is so difficult, for some people? Because although they possess the intention and the knowledge of that resolution, they do not possess enough readiness to carry through that resolution. When I began working, my new year’s resolutions would always include making more money- but as time went by, I realised that I could live up to that resolution simply by taking a step forward to make a conscious change- work efforts, ethics, longer hours. And I would be rewarded at the end of the day. If I wasn’t, I’d simply move on to an organization which would reward me for my efforts. Making money is like self-raising flour. The more flour you put into a batter to bake, the higher it will rise. Likewise, the more effort and time you put into work, the more you will be remunerated- in the right organization and with the right types of employers who can recognize your efforts.

New Year’s Eve of 2006 found us all at Uncle Paul’s house for a barbecue dinner. It was expected to be an intimate affair between close friends. We were late first and foremost, because I slacked too much in the afternoon (while you took a long afternoon nap) and only started preparing my much-requested for vinagrette & fresh salad (a lovely mixture of crisp green lettuce leaves, ripe cherry tomatoes, cucumber strips, carrot sticks, diced red, green and yellow peppers, quail’s eggs and raw onion rings) in the evening.

It was a wantonly hot night, and the more we feasted on barbecued chicken wings, pizza, spaghetti bolognaise, grilled steaks and homemade burgers and an assortment of fish and crab balls, the more we sweated in the heat. Off came your three-quarter pink-and-white checkered pants, and you roamed Uncle Paul’s house in your linen wrap-around shirt and Mamy Poko diapers. It was too cute for words.

You were in the prime of your performance, and our small crowd of friends gathered to watch you, play with you, amuse you and gave in to your every whim and fancy. Uncle Paul’s mother fell in love with you. Everyone did. I was glad that my little girl had spread her love and happiness to everyone around her. I’m proud of you. I want to show you off. And show off you did. You showed off your aptitude for walking on your own at last. Gasps, oohs and ahhs- everyone thought you were so brave and grown-up. You melted hearts, dishing out a wet kiss to whoever you felt obliged to kiss.

We allowed you to stay up late that night, your Daddy and I. Uncle Paul requested that we usher in the New Year together- although I was afraid you would be cranky and too tired. Your eyes were tired by then, rimmed red with heavy sleep, but you smiled and grinned anyway and braved the slumber that was beginning to overtake you.

The New Year crept in quietly, as the Old Year slipped out and looked back at 2006. What a wonderful year it had been, my sweet. How much you’ve grown in 2006. And when we finally packed you into our car to leave after midnight, you fell asleep on my shoulder, clutching my hair, dreaming, no doubt, of all the wonderful things you would do in 2007.

Happy New Year, my love.