New Year’s Eve activities have drastically changed in my lifetime. As a kid, my sister, my friend and I would sit in the living room, drinking copious amounts of Shasta soda and switching channels between Three Stooges reruns and MTV. In college, I worked at the restaurant on New Year’s Eve, making the best of helping others enjoy their evening. Years later, we spent the evening at friends’ houses. Currently, we walk across the street to our wonderful neighbors’ house. We get Liam home long before midnight. I love this current plan; we get to go out and be social, but also get to put on PJs and park on the couch by 9:30.
No matter where I found myself on New Year’s Eve, my mom called just after midnight to wish me a Happy New Year. My mom passed away when Liam was only four months old. Liam’s first year had many bittersweet moments. All of Liam’s first moments were also first moments without my mom. For the first few years after Liam was born, we lamely fell asleep before midnight. It wasn’t until Liam was almost six that we managed to stay awake to watch the ball drop. Even though I lost my mom five years earlier, it was the first year that my mom didn’t call me at midnight to wish me a Happy New Year. Almost immediately after being beyond excited that we were finally able to stay awake, a wave of sadness washed over me. My mom didn’t call. Yes, she had been gone five years, but the realization that this was my first New Year’s Eve without my mom hit me hard.
Last year, I went to bed around 10:30, turning off my phone completely in case anyone decided to text at midnight. I did not want to be awake at the start of the new year.
New Year’s Eve is less than a week away. We’re going to order our Chinese takeout a few days ahead of time. I’ve decided on an appetizer to bring to our neighbors’ house. I need to make a big decision: should I try to stay awake until midnight?
Every year that goes by, I get a little better at learning to exist without my mom. I often wonder what it would be like having she here with Liam, what kind of relationship would they have? We created traditions with Liam. We tell him about his nana. He has a few of her weird food quirks. He prefers white chocolate over milk chocolate and would be perfectly happy with the only type of cake available was spice cake. He knows that she tried really hard to make sure she got to meet him.
In the next few days, I need to decide if I am going to head to bed at the first sign of being tired or am I going to face another New Year without my mom. While going to bed early softened the pain of missing my mom, I left Mike on the couch alone. I have so many things to look forward to next year, it may be time to face another year with my mom.