Five years ago, T spent New Year's Eve with my family in North Carolina. He'd never met them. Just days before, he'd moved back to Dallas, while I was still living in Albuquerque. Life was a wee bit uncertain. There was a lot I didn't know, but one big thing I did: bringing this guy home to the family for New Year's was the best idea I'd ever had. Here we are that night, all shiny and new. T's still sporting his short politics hair. He hates this photo, and even though it doesn't flatter either of us, I can't help but love it, knowing that hours later he'd whisper things in my ear that we both already knew, but were both waiting on him to vocalize. (As usual, I'd jumped the gun weeks earlier.)
Five years later, we've come full circle. We were home in NC for New Year's Eve again with the family that he's firmly a part of, in a position so secure it's hard to believe there was ever a time when we hadn't yet used the L word. In a twist of fate that I'll choose to believe was just the universe giving us a year's worth of bad luck all at once - and not a cliched representation of the decline of passion after marriage - we didn't even kiss at the stroke of midnight this year.
T was sick. Miserable. Bedridden with the flu. Holed up in the bedroom of my youth. The entire weekend.
It was a very Influenza New Year's Eve. Oh, how times have changed.
Folk art paintings now take the place of Smiths posters up in my old bedroom, but there's still something sweet about tending to a sick husband in your teenage bed. Poor guy.
Downstairs, we tried our best to be festive without him. After five years of making memories in this house, his presence left a hole. But I set out the party supplies anyway.
My nephew Liam kept calling it a birthday party. And so during our "calendar birthday party" without one of our own, we ate smoked fish, beef tenderloin, green beans, and cheesy grits. We played games. We laughed at the kids and hugged a new puppy. We wore flats.
But most of all, we fervently wished for a 2012 that's a little luckier for our crazy crew, with a little less sorrow and stress than the year before. I'm fairly certain this was my family's wish in 2011, too. We're a patient family, I suppose. Although by the looks of her kitchen chalkboard, my mom may be getting less patient...
T tried to make it downstairs for the ball drop, but couldn't do it. Hence the saddest and cutest New Year's Eve text message I've ever received, sent from two floors above.
Now that he's feeling better, we've decided to just redo New Year's. We have lots of fun plans this weekend... why not add in a romantic countdown? So if you're out and about in DC this weekend, keep an eye out for two weirdos whispering to each other and checking the clock at midnight. There will most definitely be kissing this time around.