“John. John. John,” John’s brother Joe was walking hurriedly alongside John’s truck as John backed down our driveway, angling his way into the parking bay in the shop. “JOHN,” Joe hissed as soon as the engine turned off. “There’s a LADY IN YOUR HOUSE.”

We had just returned from a raucous dinner at a teppanyaki restaurant, the kind where a chef cooks everything in front of you and periodically tries to squirt sake directly into your mouth from a squeeze bottle. (“Heyyy mama,” the guy had pleaded with me, waving the bottle enticingly, while I tried to convey with a polite head shake that I may be a disaster on several fronts but I’ve stayed away from alcohol since 2013 so let’s not reset the drunk clock with a tablespoon of cheap rice wine which was sure to land directly on the surface of my eyeball anyway). The ruse to getting Joe back to our place was that I had made a New Year’s dessert to share, while in reality we had planned a surprise birthday party for him. The woman in question was his mother-in-law, who was trying to sneak quietly in the front door. “JOHN THERE’S A LADY,” Joe insisted, so confused as to why we were unfazed, while John mumbled that it was probably our cleaning person, which reminded me of the steamed hams skit on The Simpsons (“The aurora borealis!? At this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localized entirely within your kitchen!?) and by the time we finally got Joe inside he had the look of someone who wasn’t sure if everyone else had gone crazy or if he was heading into an intervention, but in the end he was most definitely surprised.

It was the perfect midpoint to the evening, really, because there were hours to go before midnight still, and Joe’s wife had made an insanely delicious ice cream cake, and everyone eventually was so hopped up on sugar that we made it to the ball drop without a problem. It was just our foursome, cuddled on the couch together and watching Ryan Seacrest do his thing and John and I marveling at how we were officially old enough not to recognize the various young celebrities on the show.

Earlier in the night we had watched a slideshow from Apple’s Photos app, the little musical number it will automatically create from an album, and our year went flying by nearly as fast as it truly did seem to. There we were skiing, in Disneyland, on the Rogue River, at the cabin, in our backyard, at school, playing sports, at the Grand Canyon.

“We have a really good life, you guys,” I said, and Riley said, “We really do,” and I know life isn’t a cherry-picked set of photos and in between those smiling moments there were plenty of not-so-great ones, but everyone is healthy and my kids seem pretty happy and I’m not sure I could ask for anything better in 2020.


7 Responses to “New Year, more please”

  1. Catherine on January 1st, 2020 11:17 am

    I’m truly happy for you, Linda! Thanks for sharing yourself and your family with us. Wishing you more of the same in 2020!

  2. Sally on January 1st, 2020 1:08 pm

    I liked this a lot – a lovely sentiment to be able to end the year on (also, irrelevant, but you and John are both looking great!).

  3. Maggie on January 1st, 2020 6:26 pm

    Hey Linda! Happy New Year to you and your family!!! May 2020 bring you many more happy days. Thank you for sharing the little bits of your life here with us. Beautiful writing always!!! And I also wanted to add a big thank you for your many awesome recommendations such as the Barre3 suggestion a while back. I started doing the on-line classes and just love!!! You are wonderful!

  4. Ann Foley on January 2nd, 2020 11:45 am

    Happy New Year Linda!

  5. Suzanne on January 2nd, 2020 12:00 pm

    Happiest New Year to you and yours!

  6. Taryn on January 12th, 2020 6:06 am

    Happy new year! I laughed at the part about being old enough to not recognize the celebrities because that was exactly my experience! My friend and I kept asking each other “who are these artists and how do all those people know the words to the songs?” Lol that’s ok I am
    100% fine being the age I am & not being “in the know” anymore!

  7. Anne on January 18th, 2020 6:41 am

    I’m so old that I can’t even stay up til midnight anymore, let alone pay attention to whoever’s performing! Good grief…

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