© Another Day in the Country
As i drove up the hill toward home, after dropping my daughter, Jana, off at work — while I spend another day hanging out with Dagfinnr during his Christmas break in California — I found myself composing a New Year’s wish for her.
In our family, we’ve tried a variety of New Year’s traditions over the years, like staying up past midnight, having friends over, opening up a bottle of bubbly, and making New Year’s resolutions.
A few years back I started the ritual of going through Christmas cards one last time on New Year’s Eve, pausing over each name and wishing them well for the new year, then burning the cards in the fireplace. This was a wonderful solution to stacks of old cards accumulating.
Last year, I didn’t do it.
“I’ve got to check addresses to make sure my list is current,” I said to myself. I stacked the Christmas cards in a quiet corner of my office, intending to take on this task in the next month or so.
Months later, when fall arrived, I noticed that stack of cards still on the shelf, and said, “What the heck?” When December rolled around that stack was still there, and so as I addressed my 2015 Christmas cards I dispatched last year’s cards to the recycling bin. So much for rituals.
On New Year’s Eve this year, we went to bed at 10 p.m. California time. I texted New Year’s greetings to a few Kansas friends as their clocks approached midnight. Jess, who always spends New Year’s Eve in quiet contemplation, texted back that her reverie was suddenly disrupted with jolting, booming noises, which sent the cat into hiding and Jess into hunting for the cause of the disruption.
You guessed it: The neighbors were shooting off firecrackers!
I went to sleep and woke up a couple hours later, in the hills of Napa Valley, with more fireworks going off as midnight arrived on the West Coast. The New Year was here officially — a new year, a new day, a new chance for something wonderful to happen. That’s the wish I have for my daughter, my extended family, and all of you.
Jana told me on one of our drives to and from her work that she felt a sense of lingering guilt about areas of her life that were less than ideal, things she needed to improve but that eluded her because of being a working mom and not having enough hours in the day to do it all. So, I wish for her in 2016 that she’ll experience peace, accepting things she cannot change, and trusting herself to know when a change in circumstance or direction is possible, and knowing that she will have the courage to step out.
In 2016, I wish for her, and all of us, “sure-footedness” and “joy,” and a savoring of this journey that we share, of spending another day together in the country.