With like 7 hours to go, a new friend decided to come over and ring in the new year with Gabriel and me. She's awesome. We had a nice time getting to know each other, marveling at the baby, eating way too many snacks, watching an episode of Scarecrow and Mrs. King, and then watching the final moments of coverage from Times Square.
New Years has never been a "big deal" holiday to me, requiring fancy plans and new dresses and lots of people. I've got some pretty spectacular memories of new year's eves past, but I'm also no stranger to ringing the new year alone-plus-five-dogs. I had fully expected to welcome 2013 by myself, and that was fine with me. But then my sweet friend came over, and I realized how happy I was to have her there.
I haven't really put a whole lot of thought into this new year. I would crack a joke here about not having time for things like thinking, but it's not really a joke. Mostly, though, I think I've been afraid of 2013, with its promise and its potential and its blank slate...its decided lack of answers.
The truth is, I'm afraid of the (un)foreseeable future. It's so....unknown. In previous years, I had my plans (grad school! career paths!) and my life-structures in place (marriage!) and an inkling of what the adventure might be - or at least a sense that the adventure would be unpredictable but good. These days, there's nothing but a to-do list I know I'll never conquer, a sense of urgency that I can't seem to shake, and the two questions that always lurk just behind my eyelids, ready to pounce when I stop moving for half a second: is Gabriel my only child? and am I doing right by him?
The fact that I don't know the answer to either of those is no small issue for me. In fact, it's kind of terrifying. And this "new year" business conveniently overlapped with Gabriel's first birthday and the year-markers of a bunch of milestones in the demise of my marriage, making my big, scary questions feel bigger and scarier, like a recurring chest pain that might be a serious thing or might just be heartburn, or one of those sores in your mouth from biting your cheek, that you keep re-biting it because it's all swollen and in the way. I'd retire a shirt to the bin of clothes he'd outgrown, and I'd wonder if I'll see it on another baby or if it will be sold to the consignment store in five years. It'd take me weeks to take apart some unused baby gear because I would distract myself while looking for a screwdriver, afraid to acknowledge that he is done with the bouncy seat and maybe we are done with the bouncy seat forever and if he's my only baby, why am I wasting my time on things like folding the laundry and drying the dishes when all I care about is him?
So it was a very big surprise when, at the stroke of 2013, I felt a surge of joy.
Anything could happen this year, I felt somewhere inside. That includes good things. Big things. Happy things.
So I relinquished to God my 2012 and all it brought, I smiled at my new friend, and I sat for a moment, grateful for years passed and for years to come.