New Year's Eve Tradition
When I got divorced, the fabulous Sarah was little, six or seven. I didn’t like leaving her alone on the night, so I got into the habit of not going out on New Year’s Eve. Over the years, when she was older and either with her dad for the week or out with friends, I still stayed in. I began to have a solo night's tradition that was simple and nice. I have been doing the same thing each year for perhaps twenty years or so. It is one of the highlights of my year.
I start by going to an afternoon film, one of the blockbusters vying for the award season's recognition. Afterward, I go out for Chinese food, which I sometimes bring home instead of eating at the restaurant. I'm home by early evening. I then sit down and write a letter to someone in my life. It includes every memory I can conjure up, and my commentary alongside about how much that memory and they mean to me. How they have been part of the fabric of my life and how their particular color is never lost among all the other colors, but rather, is part of the combination that makes my pattern alone mine. It is tens of pages long, and it’s filled with memories.
I mail it to the person. Snail mail. They don't know it's coming. I love imagining them opening it. I love that it means something to them. I love that they call and we talk and I get to hear their memories I'd forgotten, but were important enough to be cemented in their life's fabric. I marvel at what they remember that I don’t. They marvel at memories they’d forgotten that mattered so much to me. I love the whole damn thing.
I have skipped some years with last year being one of them. I knew who I wanted to write to, but the memories were, well, difficult, and I wasn't sure how to spin it. But she is getting a letter from me this year, and as I was driving yesterday thinking about something else I needed to include, I realized that the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly are all parts of what makes our relationship, our extraordinary relationship, even stronger. I can't imagine my life without her.
Happy holiday season. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy mine. What a wonderful time of year.