Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Traditions

Awoke to twinkling stars and twenty degrees this morning.  Snow down to 1,500 feet is predicted for later today.  Looks like we missed a white Christmas, but the new year might slide in on skis. 

My mother darned near ruined my life.  When I was a young bride, she told me (with a straight face) that the way my house looked on New Year's was the way it would look all year...and I, fool that I was, believed her.  I washed windows, dusted, mopped floors, did laundry (including ironing, which I did in those days)...come New Year's Day, my house sparkled!  When the dust resettled, the clothes continued to wrinkle, etc., I figured I hadn't tried hard enough and so would work harder the next December 30th.  I did this for years.  My mother had two daughters, sixteen years apart (to the day!), so maybe that plan worked for her.  By the time I was twenty-three, I had four Kids, and those house-cleaning cards were stacked against me.  Either that, or she lied.

When the Kids were very small, their dad and I would hire a sitter and go party with our friends on New Year's Eve, but when our youngest was five and the oldest was nine, we moved twenty-four miles from town and too far to drive after celebrating, so I developed a new tradition.  We would stay home and have our own party with the children.  I made fancy hors d'oeurves, served their soda in the best glasses, and had a family participation cheese fondue for dinner.  (Everyone had a fondue pot in the sixties.)  Deb and I would put on our best dresses and the boys got all spiffed up.  We put on music and danced and played games. The rule was this:  no one had to go to bed before eight, but the kids could only stay up as late as they were old.  We did this every year, and it made turning twelve a real event for each Kid...they could stay up until the magic midnight hour...they had arrived!  And we went outside to bang on pots and pans to welcome the New Year and scare away bad spirits.  It became a hallowed evening, such that Deb even turned down lucrative sitting jobs on New Year's Eve when she was in high school, not wanting to break with tradition.

Just for the heck of it, I think I'll do a little dusting today.  It might work.


Linda Cox said...

Ahh. So

Kathryn said...

I have a feeling that it would have been great fun to have grown up as a Kid in your family! And I, for one, am of the mind that once a house gets cleaned and decorated, and a garden gets planted and should stay that way forever - after all, I did it ONCE!! But, know the rest of the story! (Oh, THAT'S right...some people pay OTHER people to keep it that way. Wonder how that works!)