Happy New Year Everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's Eve. I hope you spent time with the people that you love. I hope you ate just enough to be satisfied, but not enough to be miserable. I hope you brought in the New Year in a safe and fun celebration. I also hope you awoke to 2012 not regretting anything you did on the last night of 2011.
The Man in Charge and I did just that.
We realized last night that we have never gone out on New Year's Eve together. Maybe because we found each other when we were older and much wiser about the ways of the world, or maybe it is because we are very similar in our thinking about the crazy things that people do on New Year's Eve. Neither one of us are big fans of large crowds. We both prefer to stand on the edge of things and just watch it all happen. This may seem rather boring to a lot of you, but it works for both of us and we count it as a blessing that we agree. Can you imagine if one of us wanted to go to a huge celebration and the other didn't? Chances are pretty good that we would both end up miserable. Instead, we celebrated the fact that we agree, and we looked forward to enjoying some take-out and a good movie at home. This year, John Wayne movies for sure. After the December we survived, I really wanted to watch some Good prevailing over Evil. You can always count on John for that.
After devouring some Chinese food for myself, and Mexican food for him (we don't agree on everything), we did reminisce about New Year's Eve celebrations in the past. This conversation brought back a memory that had escaped my brain. After realizing that we had never braved the crowds together on this last day of the year, always opting to stay in, I stopped to think about the last time I had gone out in public to ring in the New Year.
This was a very long time ago. It was a couple of years before the Man in Charge came into my life, and I had a date for dinner. We also were invited to a party that some friends of mine were giving. I should preface this story with the fact that my date was really not a great guy. We had been dating for a while, and like most girls, I was a little slow in reading the writing on the wall. By this time, I had pretty much figured this one out, but hadn't ended the relationship.
Girls, why do we put ourselves through this?
My Dad was in a nursing home at the time. He was in a battle with cancer, and was unable to live at home any longer. I had lived with my Dad for a while at this point, and had tried to take care of him to the best of my ability. When it reached a point that I wasn't sleeping at all for fear that he would need me, we had to make the decision to give him round-the-clock care. It was hard at first, but once he was stabilized, I would pick him up every morning and bring him home for the day. He would stay with me, lounging in his favorite chair until he watched the sun go down. Then I would take him back to the nursing home every evening. It may sound hard and sad, but it worked for both of us and we were able to enjoy our time together.
Now my Dad did not care for this particular gentleman. My father was a man of few words, and he never just came right out and said, "Are you an idiot? What are you doing?" Instead, he picked out a nickname for this person, and used it frequently. His endearing term for the guy was, "Mr. I and My." This was his way of pointing out how self-absorbed, selfish, egotistical, and sorry that he was. We didn't have to have lengthy conversations about it. I knew what he meant, and after tagging him this way, it became more and more obvious how right he was. Every sentence out of the guy's mouth started with "I" or "My". It almost became sort of a joke, because every time he spoke, I would roll my eyes and think of my Dad.
Maybe it was because I felt like I needed a break from the realities of my life, or maybe it was a moment of insanity, I agreed to the date on New Year's Eve. For some reason that I can't even remember now, I had agreed that I would drive. Probably because "Mr. I and My" didn't want to drive his shiny, new truck with so many crazy people out on the road.
Ladies, this is a red flag if you are in the dating world.
Since I was driving, I had made plans to stop and see Dad on the way out. We left about 30 minutes early to accommodate the extra stop, and when we got to the Nursing home, Dad was glad to see me. We were in an area on a lake, and we lived in the country on one side of the lake, and the nursing home was on the other side of the lake. It took all of 10 minutes after arriving before Dad looked at me and said, "Hey, You want to take a ride around the lake?" What was I going to say? Of course I did! It was New Year's Eve, and the man wanted to go for a ride. I was not going to tell him no, and with all the shortcomings of "Mr. I and My," he couldn't do it either. I now know that Dad was secretly giggling inside. We wheeled him to the door, and I pulled the car around. Dad promptly hopped into the passenger seat, I was driving remember, so, this left my date in the back seat of the car. We made our way through town, across the bridge, and through the town on the other side. The Christmas lights were still up and Dad started commenting on them like he was a little kid or something.
I never remember my Dad being excited about Christmas Lights.
What was he up to?
Once we made it across town, we crossed the bridge on the opposite side of the lake and headed back to the nursing home. We pulled into the circle drive, and I could tell my date was starting to get anxious. He kept referring to the time and the traffic and how long it would take us to get to the restaurant.
My Dad! This funny man, who was thoroughly enjoying himself on so many different levels, let me pull right up to the door, and then he looked over at me with a twinkle in his eye, and said, "Can we go again?"
I was well aware of his game at this point, and I myself was becoming highly amused at the situation. So, I put the car back in drive, and said, "Sure!" Not even stopping for a second to consult with my date, we started the second lap around. Easily it took 20-25 minutes for the first lap, and we were making another go at it. Again there was a lot of chatter in the front of the car about the lights, the weather, the holiday in general, and any other happy thing we could think of. Not so much in the back seat. The mood back there was dark. Very dark. Pulling back up to the Nursing home for the second time, I could tell that Dad was thoroughly amused with himself. I couldn't help at this time, but to ask if he wanted to go for another one, but he declined. He had proven his point, and we walked him in for the night. After saying good-bye for another 10-15 minutes, we left for dinner.
"Mr. I and My" - not in a good mood!
Me - not so much caring.
We were very late for dinner, and missed our reservation. We were still able to get a table, but it took much longer. Dinner was not memorable. I can't even recall where we went or what we had. We did make it to the party, but they were my friends, not his. He was not enjoying himself. I don't even remember if we made it to midnight. I took him home, and went home myself. The things that I remember about that night are the important things. My Dad trying to save me from myself, and having a little fun at the expense of someone that was irrelevant.
I enjoyed this memory. It made me think of my Dad. He passed away on January 12. Not even two weeks after our trip around the lake. I am so glad that we took it. "Mr. I and My" wasn't a part of my life much longer. That freed me to spend some quality time with my girls and get my head straight. It was quite a while before the Man in Charge entered my life, and I am so lucky he did. Blessings often come in funny packages that we don't understand at the time. Just rip off the paper and look for the good. It will reveal itself in time. I encourage you to recall and hang on to the things that were relevant in 2011. Let the rest go. Look forward to 2012, and keep your eye on what is important. They are the only things that matter when it is all said and done.