New Year's Eve was spent at my brother's house with his family. A great way to end 2009, and begin 2010.
Jacob insisted that we bring flowers to his cousin Madeline, so when we stopped at the store earlier that day, he picked out some beautiful pink daisies for her. What a sweet moment when he gave them to her - he was just as happy to give them to her as she was to receive them! Jacob and his cousin Daniel are becoming real buddies, too, which thrills me to no end.
There was lots of delicious food on the table... Oh - the table! Matt built us a kitchen table for our house back in NY, and we had been using chairs with it that went with another little table/chair set. Before I moved, I knew I wanted to use the little table/chair set in the breakfast room off of the kitchen in the new house, and I wanted a nice, matching table and chair set for the dining room. My brother was in need of a bigger kitchen table, but had beautiful oak chairs that just so happened to match the table Matt built for us. I found a gorgeous old-fashioned Spanish style table and chair set in the Los Angeles listing of Craigslist while I was in Buffalo. My sister-in-law Elaine took a look at it for me, and told me it was beautiful, a good deal for what I would be getting, and a perfect fit for my little Spanish style house. Sold. Now when we go to my brother's house, we eat at the table that Matt built. It's still in the family. It means so much to my brother and his family to have something that Matt built in their home, too.
Talk about going off on a tangent... Anyway, the table was full of delicious food, and it was Jacob's suggestion to light the candles on it. It's no wonder this kid is already a little ladies' man at school. Flowers, candles... he's gonna make some girl very lucky someday. He already knows who he's going to marry, too. He is in love with Amanda, and she loves him, too. But she has told him straight out that she is NOT getting married. Smart girl.
We stayed for the East Coast ball drop at 9:00 p.m. You know that whole lead-up to the ball drop? The countdown, the excitement... It killed me. I was doing great up until that point. It kills me that Matt didn't see one day of 2009, and he won't get to see a day of 2010, either. I miss starting and ending the year with him, with a kiss.
I couldn't watch, so I busied myself in the other room. I know my brother was disappointed I didn't watch with them, but I couldn't help it. Elaine waved me over, and I just couldn't do it. About a minute after the ball dropped, my phone rang. It was my best friends calling me from the party at their house, where I would have been had I not moved. They all yelled, "Happy New Year" on the phone to me. That just pushed me over the edge and I couldn't hold the tears back anymore.
My friend Connie's oldest daughter Alexia's birthday is on December 29, so the annual tradition has been for them to have Lexi's birthday party on the afternoon of New Year's Eve, and then whoever wants to stay to celebrate New Year's is welcome. It's so much fun hanging out with my best friends Connie, Karin, and their families. We've been best friends since high school, and it was always so cool to watch our kids playing together after all these years of friendship. I really miss them. So when I heard their voices on the phone during that tough moment, I just couldn't hold it together. I hope I didn't ruin their night.Then Matt's little cousin Jake called, then my friend Jenny from Florida... It meant so much to me that they were thinking of me at that moment.
We were home and in bed by 10:30 p.m.
New Year's Day, we got up bright and early. One of my neighbors told me that we might get to see the fighter jets flying above our neighborhood right before they begin the Rose Bowl parade, and we didn't want to miss it. One of the things that Matt loved to do with Jacob was to take him to air shows. There was one in Rochester, NY that they went to a couple of years in a row.
We heard the low rumble, and went outside. Almost everyone in the neighborhood had come out of their houses to see. I looked up and down our street, and I've never seen anything like it - everyone standing outside of their homes, looking up at the sky. It was disappointing that we didn't end up seeing the fighter jets, but it was still a cool moment.
A little while later, my brother and his friend Karl came over so they could do their annual New Years Day mountain bike ride in the San Gabriel mountains. They were pretty happy that I'm living here now so they could just park their cars outside of my house, and ride their bikes to the trail head a little over a mile away. We visited for a little while over some coffee. I was going to walk with one of my neighbors and her family to where the Rose Bowl parade ends, just a couple of blocks from my house at the park the kids and I often visit, but we were running late, so I told them to go ahead and I'd catch up with them in a bit.
After Bryan and Karl left, the kids and I walked over to where Janet described they would be. I didn't think we'd see anyone we knew in the sea of people that were there, but somehow, we ended up right in the same spot! A bunch of our neighbors/friends were there! It was so cool to get to see part of the famous parade, and even more awesome that we could walk there!
I decided that next year, in addition to the annual Christmas Eve party, I would also host an annual New Year's Eve party. I figure, the house will already be trashed from Christmas, and that way, my brother won't have to drive all the way from Santa Monica early New Year's Day to do his ride, and Elaine and the kids will be able to go with us to see the parade. Perfect!
I love living here.