New Year’s Eve 10

Some people, like my mother and step-father, have a standing New Year’s tradition.  They check into a downtown hotel for the big party sponsored by his club, the Vagabonds, in St. Louis.  My mother brings several changes of clothes for the various cocktail sips, hospitality suite visits, card parties and breakfast gatherings.  You have not seen dressing until you see the sisters who attend these events compete with each other around hair, outfits, makeup, accessories, and artful entrances.

I don’t have a traditional New Year’s practice.   Over the years, I’ve done a bit of everything – given a party, gone to First Night festivities with my friends and kids, had a pity-party alone watching Dick Clark, and babysat for friends (cashing in on my solo, nothing-else-to-do status).  I’ve gone to swank parties and to Prince Hall with a date and with my lonesome.

One of the most opulent New Year’s celebrations I’ve ever had was in Chicago where I was wined and dined by a dear man who turned out not to be the one for me (nor me for him). The memory of that New Year’s is one that will make me smile in my old age.

I remember my first New Year’s with the man who is now my beloved husband.  We’d started dating late in August.  I was talking to my sister in my weekly update on the relationship’s progress when she pronounced in her jokingly matter-of-fact way, “If he asks you out for New Year’s Eve – that’s your man!”  Well, he asked me out! I was so nervous trying on various outfits and making sure my hair was just so.  We had a grand time!  I couldn’t help grinning all evening.  I was trying to be cool but I smiled so widely that my cheeks started aching! He was my man!  (And still is.)

We shared another memorable New Year’s Eve when we went to St. Louis and joined my mother, stepfather, aunt, uncle and other family and friends at the Vagabond’s party.  I wasn’t as fabulously fashionable as the other women – but I held my own – and made three outfit changes.  (It takes a whole lot of effort and devotion to be a fashionista.  I just don’t have it in me.)

I have some friends who absolutely dread New Year’s Eve.  I stopped dreading it after the pitiful state I was in those years ago when I watched Dick Clark alone.  Let me tell you how pitiful I was.  Earlier that day, I’d gone out to procure my provisions for the evening.  (Since I don’t drink but love to eat, I’m talking about food – ribs, mac & cheese, a luscious slice of cheesecake.)  On the way home, I was on the train and saw a couple who were clearly down-on-their luck, filthy and drunk, and working on getting more drunk while sipping from a bottle in a brown paper bag.  I looked at them and all I could think was, “She’s got a man – why don’t I?”  When I got home and reflected on that jealousy – I gave myself a good talking to.  From that day on, I decided that New Year’s Eve would be approached with anticipation, appreciation, and joie de vie no matter what my dating or social status or financial situation was.

This year, my husband is sick with a cold.  His temp seems to have broken but he’s been sneezing all over the place.  So, I’ve put out noisemakers, assembled juice, champagne, tissues, lined up the candles, and we’ll have a toast, a dance, a sneeze and a squeeze into 2008.  We are so blessed to be together and to be happy being together.

Happy-happy!  Joy-joy! I’m looking forward to a great new year for me, for us, and for you!

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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