Tonight, we will gather at my parents' house to celebrate New Year's Eve. It's a tradition we've been carrying on for close to 25 years. I started throwing a New Year's Eve party when I was a teenager. My brothers and parents used to go out to the local bars and restaurants when I was a kid. They'd come back wearing hats and toting horns. I got a little tired of being left out of the fun. So I started collecting their hats and noisemakers. Then, one year, I threw my own party with balloons and streamers and hats and noisemakers and home-made pizza. Eventually, my brothers and parents started staying home for my party.
That's how it all began.
This year, one of my sisters is trying to convince me to hold New Year's Eve at 7 p.m. so everybody can go to bed early. She claims she's thinking of the kids, but we've never had a problem with the kids staying up until midnight before. The other excuse she's using is that my mother has a hard time staying up late. My mother's fallen a few times in the last year and hasn't really fully recovered yet. I told my sister that whoever wanted to go to bed early could go to bed. Now, the battle is the decorations. I always put up tons of streamers and balloons. My sister says it will stress my parents out. I told her I would host the party at my house tonight. She didn't answer me.
I love my family, but sometimes my family creates stress in situations where there doesn't need to be stress. One of the problems is that several of my siblings no longer have a lot of tolerance for small children in large doses. My wife's sister and her family usually come to the party. My wife's sister has been coming to the party since she was 12 or 13 years old. She now has two children--a seven-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son. When they get together with my kids, the results can be a little chaotic.
Family can be frustrating. Family can be aggravating. Family can be stressful. I'm sure tonight is going to be great. We will gather at my parents' house or my house, and we will play board games and watch on TV as the ball drops in Times Square at midnight. We will ring in 2012 together. There will undoubtedly be shouting and arguing. There will be biting comments (my family's specialty). Most of all, however, there will be family love.
There is a new cartoon for today. The last of 2011. Be safe tonight. Love your family. If you're not with your family, know that you are loved by God and me. Don't forget to enter the 500th Post Name My iPad Contest. The deadline is tomorrow at noon. So far, "George" is the only entry.
Saint Marty wishes all his disciples a blessed New Year.
Confessions of Saint Marty