The boys in the basement woke up with their own alarm. Sammy and his friends had plans to see “The Hobbit” at 12:15, and despite getting to bed excruciatingly late, they didn’t want to miss the movie.
Six teenagers ate a quick breakfast and got out the door the morning after our almost-annual New Year’s Eve party.
Around 9 p.m. we told them it was already midnight on some obscure island in the Atlantic Ocean, then counted down like Dick Clark in Times Square. Dinner happened in shifts: kids ate early, followed by games, crafts and confetti. After the early Happy New Year they changed into pj’s and settled in for a movie while the adults ate a leisurely meal.
This year was much more laid back. Our potluck featured three types of pasta, but no one complained. Adults took their time with dinner; the last thing our kids needed or wanted was our attention.
Before the guests arrived, Sammy had one important question: “What about the ice cream sundae bar?”
“But we always have sundaes,” he insisted. “Every year.”
Every year. Hmm… I remember a few sundae bars, some more elaborate than others. Perhaps we did that last year, or maybe it was five years ago. It’s entirely possible we even made sundaes two years in a row. I vaguely recall cleaning up puddles of homemade hot fudge and fresh whipped cream. Sprinkles? Probably. But not every year.
Memory is funny like that.
Every year we drop the National Geographic beach ball and count down when it’s midnight somewhere else in the world.
Every year we tear up confetti and throw it in the air (and then find tiny bits of colored paper among the couch cushions for the next four months.)
Every year we bake huge pans of lasagna.
Every year a swarm of children watch Disney movies, lined up on the basement floor in their footie pajamas.
Friends? Check. Food? Check. The rest is up for grabs.
Every year the tradition changes, and every year it’s the same. You can count on it.