There are all sorts of parties and gatherings happening tonight. We're not at any of them. Instead, the four of us — my wife and daughters and I — are in the kitchen making appetizers and other silly foods. The dog eagerly awaits any drops. Our youngest girl is rolling sushi, something she taught herself while school has been out. The older girl is eating bacon-wrapped scallops, something she learned at a very young age. My wife and I are floating in and out of different food prep, dish washing, and occasional kisses and smiles at how lovely this all is.
In school I often have kids write about wants versus needs. This evening fits both of those requirements. I easily get lost in things I want and forget simpler pleasures. I'm not saying that I have to focus on family and love every second, but here at the end of 2018 I am content, happy, thrilled to be spending the evening as a family, just the four of us (and the dog and cats). I'm ending the year in love.
There have been times when I've really forgotten how important my family is. I'm not proud of that but I'm not too ashamed either. Forgetting allowed me to come back. I'm looking around this kitchen at one daughter who will soon go away to college, another daughter full-grown but naive and childlike in the ways I love, and my wife who is cancer-free and healthy, totally in love with her girls, and still somehow the same woman I fell in love with so long ago on the Oswego shore of Lake Ontario.
Mine is a good life. 2018 was a pretty good year. I remember tough times but they were far outweighed by good times, love, and warmth. 2019, for whatever reasons, already feels like a great year before it has begun. It probably has to do with the company I'm keeping on the eve of 2019's beginning.
Happy New Year to all of us. To mess with John Lennon's lyric, let's make it a good one without any fear.