Last night, for New Year’s Eve, we had some friends over. They arrived around 6 pm and we all settled around the fire awaiting the New Year. I knew my kids would be up late but doubted any of them would make it to midnight.
Sure enough, Megan was the first one out around 10 pm. I tucked her in, stroked her face and whispered, “I’ll see you next year, sweet Squish.”
Sarah lasted a little later but finally passed out in front of “Dora Christmas” around 11:30 pm. I carried her to her room, stroked her face, and whispered, “Happy New Year my sweet Sarah Beara”.
Katie was still up, as well as our friends 2 year old, so we decided it was time for fireworks. Katie and I made it out to the front first and saw a bright burst in the sky. Her eyes lit up and she begged to go see more fireworks. I grabbed her hand and we walked out into the night, no street lights in the country, engulfed in darkness, just us two.
We chit chatted as we made our way through the chilly night. Her sweet, little girl voice rang loudly and clearly through the stillness. Excited about the potential of “big” fireworks, she half skipped, half ran, to keep in step with me. She never let go of my hand.
As we walked, I was struck with the reality that I am, indeed, this child’s mother. Her Mother?! I don’t know why it hit me, I have been her mother for 4 and a half years. Over 5 when we count the pregnancy. But it did. Maybe memories of previous New Year’s, out late at night, hunting down the best free firework show, beer in hand instead of a child’s, caused a type of reality check. I don’t know. But I smiled when I thought of it and was filled with eternal pride.
We turned around and headed back to our house to find the rest of the members of our party. We had some fireworks to do as well and I did not want Katie to miss them. Excitedly, I watched as she jabbered on about how she was going to help with the fireworks, pink hood on her jacket bouncing up and down with her anxious movements.
We got back right as the firework frenzy in our neighborhood met fever pitch, thus announcing midnight. Katie reached up, placed her sweet, cold hands on each of my cheeks, kissed me gently and said, “Happy New Year, Mommy.”
I almost could not respond for the tears in my throat.
Yes, I am her mother. And I was holding her hand, taking a walk at midnight, from one year to the next.
And a Happy New Year it was indeed.