New Year 2021


This is not our usual ‘New Year’ celebration, is it? We are now two full years into this relentless pandemic. We are, as Americans, at each other’s throats every single day over concepts both serious and stupid. Should we work to protect the rights of all voters to express themselves in each election? Should we push back against the biases we see in our media outlets? Do we really have to wear masks in the grocery store? Why do I need to get a vaccination if I’m not likely to die from this disease?

This year we find ourselves facing a New Year’s Eve that is fraught with anger, with frustration, with fear, with sorrow.

For me, and my immediate family, this is the year without our parents. This is our first look into a future with neither Mom nor Dad. A year in which we feel unbalanced, unanchored, adrift.

I want to write the usual hopes for the upcoming year and the usual funny looks back on the mistakes and mix-ups of last year.

But I can’t.

This year, I find that I am simply blank. There are too few thoughts in this weary head.

As I watch the waning days of 2021, all I feel is resignation.

I am resigned to the fact that more and more people are going to get sick in the next few weeks. I’m resigned to the realization that our country, and humanity as a whole, has completely mismanaged the enormous challenge of our global pandemic. Even though we KNOW that viruses cross borders, that viruses do not care what languages we speak or which gods we honor, even though we KNOW that every human on this little planet is at risk, we have still failed to look out for each other.

We have vaccines, but we aren’t going to share them because…..money.

My disappointment in the human race is profound.

I am resigned to the fact that the country in which I live is headed off a cliff, and that there is nothing in the world I can do to make it better.

Politicians will continue to yell and scream about nothing. People will continue to insist that they are on the “good” team. Temperatures will rise, storms will rage, glaciers will melt.

I’m sorry.

I’m usually able to summon up at least a modicum of hopefulness; I am a woman who surrounds herself with children, and that in itself is usually enough to keep me optimistic.

But as we come up on the first anniversary of our near insurrection, I read that our government is “weighing the possibility of seeking criminal charges”. And I realize that none of this theater is actually about stopping us from charging off that cliff. It’s about stringing things out until we get close enough to the famous “midterms” to impact the way we feel, and the way we will vote. It’s about liars, cheaters and traitors trying to wiggle out of the responsibility they have for what happened, and about those who are supposed to be holding them accountable finding the most politically expedient way to do that.

As our children are about to head back into schools that are literal petri dishes of infection, with no actual plan in place to keep anyone safe, I am aware that as a society we are happy to sacrifice our youngest children and their teachers so that the factories can keep churning out the endless piles of junk that we all so enjoy ordering online.

I have no uplifting, hopeful, empowering thoughts for next year.

I’m sorry.

I am blank. I am bereft. I am as empty as any candidate’s promise to save us.

So.

I wish you a 2022 of abject boredom, in which nothing remotely dangerous or scary happens to you or to anyone you love. I wish you a year empty of new variants, devoid of new mask recommendations, extra boosters, or anything involving the word “antibodies”.

May your greatest surprise in 2022 come in the form of an unexpected blossom on a plant you thought you’d lost. May your biggest challenge be trying to remember the name of that wonderful teacher from elementary school.

I wish you peace. I wish you rest. I wish you at least one fabulously delicious meal shared with people who make you laugh out loud.

Most of all, dear friends, my New Year’s wish for all of us is that one year from now we find ourselves saying, “Well, that was certainly an improvement.”

Happy, healthy 2022 to everyone on planet earth.

“Time Keeps On Slipping Into the Future.”


Sometimes, like all of us, I wish that I could make time run in reverse, and go back to earlier days.

I wish that I could visit my childhood again. I’d still have both of my parents. My Dad would be alive and full of fun and handsome and strong. My Mom would still be his beautiful bride, and their six kids would giggle as he pulled her into his arms for a kiss before dinner.

I wish that I could reclaim the sense of endless hope that pervaded those days. When I’d sit in the backyard and gaze at the full moon and dream of the adventurous and romantic life I’d lead one day.

More than that, though, even more than that: I wish that I could hit rewind, just for a few minutes, to see my three little children playing on the living room rug. I wish I could hold each of them in my arms, my beautiful babies. I wish I could hear those voices, laughing or crying, or calling “Mom!”

But time doesn’t work that way, does it? No matter how much we want to hold onto the past, or hold onto today, all of it keeps slipping into the future. And as impossible as it seems, here we sit on the eve of the year 2019.

I will turn 63 this year. My Mom will turn 89. Both are impossible from the vantage point of my heart.

My oldest child will turn 33, and her oldest will turn 4.

Impossible. Unbelievable. Somehow all of it simply wrong. Too soon, too quick, too rushed.

I am not ready.

And that’s the beauty of the whole thing. Time doesn’t care if we are ready. Time doesn’t care if we have grasped our own mortality, or if we’ve accepted the losses that it has brought us.

Time keeps on slipping into the future.

So what is that I wish for in my 63rd year of this wonderful, tiring, surprising, inspiring life?

I wish for another year with all of my children and their partners happy, healthy and filled with hope. I wish for a year of growth and new adventures and continued good health for my grandchildren, my best beloveds.

I wish, with all my heart, for another year with my Mom on this earth. I wish for more shared meals, more jigsaw puzzles, more hours spent pouring over old photo albums. Her memory is weak, so sometimes these jaunts into the past are more upsetting than pleasant. Even so, I wish for more time with her as the rudder in my life.

For my country, I wish for a year of healing. Somehow, some way, I hope that we can find our way back to the days of arguing without hatred. I hope and I wish and I pray that something will change to bring us out of these dangerous times and help us find our way back toward some sense of national unity.

Time keeps on slipping into the future.

We can’t turn it back. We can’t stop it.

We can only keep moving forward, faster and faster every year, keeping our minds and our hearts open to each other. Trying to grow and learn and improve.

Wishing all of you a Happy, Healthy, Joyful 2019.

Time Keeps On Slipping

The Ending of Another Year


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When I was younger, New Year’s Eve meant the welcoming of a newer, brighter, more hopeful next step. We were all moving forward into a brighter day, where all of the errors of the past could be erased and the dawning of a new spring was just ahead of us.

I remember one New Year’s Eve celebration with friends, where one of us jumped up on a table at midnight, glass of wine in hand, and shouted, “This is the year when I get MARRIED!!!” The whole bar cheered, and we all laughed and danced and jumped up and down.

It feels like yesterday.

That friend is now a grandmother of two, with another on the way. She’s still married to that fabulous guy she was dancing with on that long ago eve.

And I feel as if no time at all has passed. And I feel like that night was a thousand years ago.

Now we stand on the brink of another New Year.

Now I am more practical, more measured, more prosaic as I mark the unstoppable march of time.

Goodbye, 2017. You were a year. You had your wonderful glories, like the birth of our sweet little Johnny. And the celebration of our sons falling in love. And the wonderful summer weather.

But you were a regular year, so you had your awful moments, too. Like the loss of a young friend by his own hand. And the death of our sweet old Tucker.

You were a year of fear for a lot of us, as we saw our country fall under the control of a man who most of us think is a dangerous despot. We found ourselves revisiting our fears of nuclear war. And discovering new fears of a vulnerable power grid and cyber war.

You were a year of shock. But you were also the year of our renewed strength, as so many of us marched to voice our outrage. I ushered you in with millions of other resistors around the country, and I will usher you out with my resolve unchanged.

2017, you were a year.

I am happy enough to bid you goodbye, although a part of me thinks, “one less year of life for me” as I wave you out the door.

2018, let’s welcome you in. May your storms be few, your wars be limited, and your memories be sweet.

Another trip around the sun for all of us. Next year, I’m sure, will be another year on planet earth.