Ever since I was a small one I’ve loved the new year. The opportunity for a fresh start to become the person you want to be. Why the atmosphere is so much different around it rather than other times of the year I don’t know. But there is something about the brisk, chilly air; the clear, pure blues and sharply outlined lightness of clouds in a January sky that inspire me. You turn the page of a new calendar and turn a new dawn and voila! The world waits to see what you will do. Now that we live in the south there is also the delight of knowing that spring is not far away. That in just a month or so small buds will unfurl and bright color will start to dot the garden. Even now if you walk through the cultured nearby botanical gardens and know which turns to take you can find the smiling full blooms of the sasanqua camellias. Their lovely shape, fullness and variety of colors make me smile to know that they are standing silently by just waiting for me to happen upon them.
The last few years we have stumbled into a few other welcomings of the new year as well. Co-workers of Lovey’s have an annual New Year’s Eve bash that begins at their home where everyone, note particularly the small ones are invited to play together and have their early meal. It is a pot-luck event where some of my favorite local family cooks are included and the food is wonderful- from the anti-pasto plate and smoked salmon, to the variety of breadmakers finest fare to the soups and salads. It’s become a neighborhood gathering that we feel fortunate to be included in since we actually live a few miles from the neighborhood. After the children are settled in with their steaming bowls of pasta and busy reconnecting with the others and the older children have been assigned to sitter duties; the grown-ups amble over to another lovely home lit with luminaries and twinkling lights where there is wine, port, fine appetizers and even finer company. We went last year when I was humongously pregnant with The Quail and I swear it was the best time we had as a couple in ages. Even our tired selves were so invigorated by the festive atmosphere that we managed to stay out to ring in the New Year. After the reception we all headed back to the original home to check on our brood and settle in with a hearty, international meal and wait for the clock to strike twelve! Last year one of the families from Poland introduced the children to the folktale of The Stone Soup told with actual vegetable assignments for them over an open fire and stirred and simmered until after midnight for one last hearty meal before heading home. This year our Zuzu curled up on a wrought-iron bed and snored in the new year while The Quail wore her tiara and chortled it in along with the grown-ups. I hear there was also an additional home offering dessert but we didn’t make it over to that one.
On New Year’s day we have also had the good fortune to have our family included in another friend’s southern tradition of welcoming in the new year and inviting good luck into the year by feasting on hoppin’ john, rice, pork and collard greens. This is yet another group of fabulously talented cooks and we are so very blessed to be included in their festivities as well. Last year we had a little ceremonial embracing of what we hoped to invite into our lives and what we hoped to let go of. We shared them with the group and then blessed them to the earth. I thought we might do this again and so I had my items prepared for the event. Since we didn’t have a chance to do this instead I offer them out to cyberspace in hopes of sealing my success and inner peace!
This year I hope to embrace:
1. Moderation in my daily life
2. Connection- with friends, family, myself and community
3. Health- for me, my home and my family
4. Creative Inspiration and embracement of my expression of it
I hope to let go of these:
2. Worry or rumination over negative energies and concerns
3. Anger or negative reaction as opposed to thoughtful action in response to something upsetting/bothersome
4. Emotional eating and nibbling out of anxiety
I’ll be working on goals for the year as well- both revising my earlier family goals post and setting some loose goals for myself in books I hope to read this year, music I hope to listen to, movies I hope to watch and activities I hope to take part in. These are things that I don’t always find I make time for much anymore. Mostly I hear children’s music, read children’s books and watch children’s shows. And while I’m happy to do those things with the children- I think I need to add some grown up versions back into my life so I don’t burn out or begin to resent Barney, Tinkie-Winkie, Wordgirl, Elmo, Kipper and Angelina. I also know that my children seeing me do these things for myself will set a good example for how they should naturally treat themselves as they grow up.
Speaking of which- time to go roast the chicken!