It's January, so I suppose that means we ought to talk about resolutions.
Sure, I'll talk about them - about how the very word irritates the heck out of me. About falling into a marketing trap of hedonism and excess for the two preceding months, and then suddenly depriving ourselves for the one month in the beginning of the year when we could use the most comfort - and for me that means a rich, multi-layered stew, or a fragrant biryani. But this year, especially? I don't think any member of my family is brave enough to try and pry the spoon out of my hand as I dig deep into a bowl of hot jasmine rice and daal.
For my part, I'm going to have to get used to January being the start of the new year. For eighteen years, since I first walked my now twenty year old daughter into her first preschool classroom, the end of August has always felt like the start of all things good - the barely-felt chill in the early mornings, the promise of fall around the corner. New textbooks and sneakers to be broken in; an excitement of who their teacher was going to be and if their as-yet-unmet best friend for life would just happen to be seated next to them in class.
Last week, my youngest child graduated from high school, a semester early. No fanfare, no last day of school trip to the ice cream shop - a tradition we've had for every first and last day of school - no signing of yearbooks, no photos with friends in front of the school mural. Bereft of these traditions, I find myself mourning the loss of PTA meetings as well, and crisp fall evenings selling spirit wear at football games. And so much more.
But, we're alive. We've survived the past year. And I don't mean the pandemic alone. Every bilious tweet, every shock to the system, every attack on the democracy of this imperfect but promising land of opportunity, every breath cut off, every fist raised in protest - we witnessed and lived through it all.
It's time now. To breathe, to take precautions. To put the country in capable hands, to believe in the wonder and truth that is science. And, it's time to celebrate what we can, how we can. Whatever that means to you, do it. A six-pack of fat chocolate chip cookies? Go for it. Champagne that's been chilling since you last moved five years ago? Time to pop the cork. Taking five hours to read a book from start to finish because you're riveted? Bravo, do it again.
Here's to 2021 - may it be a year of reckoning, of celebration, and of return to humanity.
Wife, mother, baker, jam maker, hug dispenser, reader.