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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Acknowledging a New Year

I believe I’ll declare this the official first day of my new year. This exceptionally white January morning, draped in quiet. My husband wakes first while I cling to the silence of sleep, having fought through more than one round of nighttime hacking cough. The inevitable illness that crashed my party midway through our twelve days of Yuletide.

Today the lights still twinkle on a towering tree and a single bulb glows over a resin manger, but they mark a celebration now past and sometime this weekend there will be a boxing day. I reread hasty lines from a journal entry, a desperate attempt on the official First to remember and reflect and to answer the question about a resolution. A question asked with no answer.

On the eve of the New Year we crashed an anniversary party. Our New York son and his bride of four years. They think this sounds like a good long time. And we are eight times that, plus one—an accomplishment we celebrated across continents in mid-December, which is why Mom and Dad are invited to sup at our own local favorite on an anniversary night. And I am almost too sick to eat, which is sorely unromantic so I try hard to hide it. Ali starts asking questions and we go round the table remembering our favorite year of marriage, which is decidedly easier for them than us, but my husband and I surprise each other by choosing the same. 2020. The year the world shut down and we lived in the basement of his parents’ townhouse and he could hardly walk on account of a worn out hip. But we built a house together.

And then someone of course asks about a resolution and each in turn gives an answer. But I do not have the slightest. I am not resolved. Not yet.

I do spend a bit of time in reflection, looking through a year of photos saved on my iPhone. Trips taken, concerts attended, family gathered for fun on the lake. A new grandson, born mid-summer. A book birthed just a few days later.

Ali asks a thought-provoking question about an area of growth we’ve seen in our spouse, and my husband kindly mentions my season of perseverance to publication, and I sit in my fog of congestion considering what sort of longterm growth this might be.

Luke and Ali flew back to the Big Apple rather late last night after sitting in MSP International for an entire day waiting for a break in snowfall. Exactly twelve days prior I’d braved a previous “blizzard” to pick up my California kids and my husband returned from his lengthy trip.

Last night it was just two of us and the dog for the first time since the first of December. We turned on a game and my husband scrolled through ads for a new car which may or may not kick off 2023. I sat in my recliner tearing sections of tissue off a toilet paper roll, having used up every box of holiday-themed kleenex. My voice was still weak, conversation taxing, and there were plenty of things waiting for an overdue chat. But not tonight. Tonight we would rest and settle. And savor.

Our California kids are still enjoying their Christmas vacation with her family in Iowa, and Kyle reminds me we’ll get to see them one last time this weekend when they drive north in our soon-to-be-replaced car. I check the forecast for their day of departure, surprised to see prediction of a rare day of full sun. And this morning Ali texts from NYC saying she misses Minnesota. Which, all things considered, warms my heart.

My grown-up family gathers and scatters, but we never really say good-bye. See you next time. And perhaps next time in this New Year 2023 will be for the wedding of Jimmy and Sidney. Our youngest who kicked off our twelve days of merriment with a proposal. Long awaited and earnestly celebrated by every parent, sibling, and cousin. Sweetest buzz of anticipation as we make our plans for the next twelve months.

And so this morning I look out windows on the whitest white I’ve ever seen, grateful today is work-from-home. I wonder again about a resolution. Acknowledging my own bit of growth. Like a dormant seed beneath a drift of winter. Not in a hurry. But waiting and ready. I resolve to watch and pray and maybe after a season of stillness I’ll be ready to name it. First to myself, and then to my husband, and perhaps someday here.

Farewell Christmas. Welcome, New Year.

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