New Year’s Eve is always an exciting time for me.
Even though it is just another night, symbolically it represents a fresh start, a clean slate and a chance to make positive, healthy changes.
With everything going on in my life, I was anxious for 2009 to end and for 2010 to begin. Let’s face it, this hasn’t exactly been a period in my life that I would want to continue ad nauseam.
Ever since college, I always looked forward to the parties, the friends and the hoopla of bidding farewell to the old and welcoming in the new.
For the past several years, we went to the home of a good friend of Dick’s, had appetizers, dinner, dessert, socialized and at 11:00 pm would gather around the television to watch the annual Dick Clark New Year’s Eve event in New York City and start the festivities as the ball dropped in Times Square. Then the show switched to parties at various locales around Chicago and the next hour would miraculously fly by till the countdown for us would begin. Party hats were adorned. Noisemakers were passed out. Champagne was poured.
Then we all yelled in unison:
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
We immediately followed this up with hugs, kisses and a toast for a wonderful new year filled with all of life’s greatest gifts.
When things started to really turn sour between Dick and me, we both dreaded that final countdown because we would have to give each other the customary peck on the cheek even though both of us would have preferred to take a pass.
In early December, I knew that Dick and Juanita would be celebrating this holiday together in her neck of the woods, so I started hinting to Ashley that she should have a party at our home. At first, she balked at the idea, claiming that her friends would want to be with their families. Then a few weeks later, she said that one of her pals was thinking of having a gathering at her house. I told Ashley that if those plans fell through, she was welcome to have everyone at our place.
Secretly, I was hoping that would happen. My motive was somewhat selfish. I didn’t have anywhere to go and I didn’t want to be home alone, feeling sorry for myself and thinking of what Dick and Juanita might possibly be doing. Nor did I want to wallow in self-pity or be in a deep depression.
As it turned out, my wish came true and our house was going to be Party Central!
It was good to have something to look forward to. Getting into the holiday spirit, I began planning and shopping for the first party that was hosted at our place in as long as I could remember.
This year, especially, I wanted to welcome in 2010 with our house filled with happiness, laughter, fun, friends (okay, Ashley’s friends!) and a fresh beginning.
I bought festive decorations, plates, napkins, silverware ( okay…plastic), sparkling grape cider and plastic fluted wine glasses. Ashley and I planned the menu and her friends all offered to bake desserts.
Everything was positive and upbeat until Ashley told Dick about her upcoming event.
He went berserk, threatening her that if anything was broken or ruined, she and her friends would have to pay for the damages. (What a guy!!!) Being the control freak that he is, Dick barked out orders of what shouldn’t be moved or touched.
As it turned out, he left in the middle of the afternoon on December 31 and told Ashley that he was going away for a business opportunity. As Josh drove him to the airport, Ashley and I got the basement decorated, set the table, put out the appetizers and drinks and totally ignored Dick’s demands. It felt so good to be in charge and disregard the orders left by my soon-to-be ex.
The party turned out to be a complete success. In fact, half of the girls stayed overnight and didn’t leave until the following afternoon. A friend of mine invited Josh, Ashley and me to come over for a New Year’s Day dinner and birthday party for another one of our friends. Josh, who was out all night with his college pals, took a pass, but Ashley and I went and enjoyed another evening of festivities.
All in all, it was a wonderful start to a new year, a new beginning and a new tradition!