The first moments of January 1, 2018 are the moments I most remember from the day. We left our friends’ house shortly after the ball dropped. I remember how Matt walked up the icy driveway with his shoelaces untied. A friend was worried he’d fall, and I was worried he’d yell at me if I offered to help. In the end, he made it to the car without incident.
We drove home and I rushed to put G and H to bed—as an early riser, midnight is way past my bedtime. When I came downstairs, Matt was rummaging in the refrigerator. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he hadn’t eaten in hours, and he was starving. I reminded him that he’d just eaten less than an hour ago, and had eaten his fair share at our friends’ house. I told him, even if he was starving, maybe eating at 1 a.m. was a bad idea. He asked if I was sure it was that late. I said yes, we’d just left a New Year’s Eve party. He told me he didn’t know it was New Year’s Eve. Then he added he doubted anyone else at the party knew it was New Year’s Eve. I remember the exhaustion, the bone deep weariness, when I told him I didn’t want to argue, but I was sure everyone at that party knew it was New Year’s Eve.
He couldn’t believe that his reality wasn’t everyone else’s reality. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know, until that moment, that Matt didn’t know why we were out so late. That amazing brain. Once again the extent of his warped reality was hidden, even from me.
I don’t remember what we did on January 1, 2018. I have no photos or text messages that shed any light on the day. But I remember other January 1sts. In 2017, we (Matt and I) took G and H ice skating for the first time. In 2016, we (our family of four) spent the day at Liberty Science Center. As far as I can remember, we spent the first day of each new year seeing friends, watching shows, or just lounging around, watching movies in pajamas. We slept in, watched cartoons, and ate chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. We sometimes threw the world resolution around, but never made any kind of formal commitment. We spent the day as a family of four, without any expectation.
Last night, G, H, and I celebrated our first New Year’s Eve without Matt. Thanks to that (thankfully mild) case of the flu, we also celebrated it without anyone else—a night as a family of three, without any expectation. We made lava lamps and volcanos, baked cupcakes and frosted cakes, we watched movies and burned a little sage (maybe a little too much sage) in the hope of dispelling any negative energy–because, the truth is, I can’t stop hoping for a little magic in 2019.
The night wasn’t wild. We missed Matt. We missed the friends we were supposed to see. We went a little stir crazy. But we brought in 2019 together, with a little light and a little love.