In my family New Year’s Eve was always a special occasion and wrought with meaning especially for my mother. Every year she would tell us, “Where you are when the bells ring on New Year’s Eve is where you will be for the rest of the year.” As a kid this meant that our house had to be clean, that we had baths and new pajamas, if there was homework or projects they had to be completed, and everything in our house was in perfect order.
Of course, in those years no one paid attention to the things that were slightly out of place like the growing tension between my parents or my mother’s addiction to Dexedrine. There was no thought to putting intra-personal or interpersonal order in our lives.
For years I carried forward this tradition making sure my house was clean, laundry done, hair and nails and toes perfected. I even chose my new years eve activities to meet the law of “when the bells ring”, one sad year locking myself in my room at the stroke of midnight to symbolize to myself that I would indeed end a painful relationship in the coming months. Another year I made sure I was sitting at my desk at 12:01 to ensure a year of commitment to writing.
Today as I prepare for this evening and the change to a new year I have a new take on my mother’s teaching. I will not do laundry and not clean the kitchen. I will leave the to-do list undone and I’ll enjoy the lights of our Christmas tree one more night.
My hope for myself when the bells ring tonight is that I am imperfect, undone and incomplete and that I will accept myself as a work in progress rather than a woman frozen in time. When the stroke of midnight comes I hope to be relaxed, laughing and pleased with myself and that is what I hope I will carry into 2010.