Of New Years and Mouse Ears

“Do you know what a resolution is?” I asked them. Both boys shook their heads from left to right and back again. This indicated that no, they did not.

“In the case of a new year,” I continued, “it is an attempt to do things differently, and hopefully better.”

“Why do you do it at the new year?” asked the youngest.

“A new year, according to the calendar, is a new beginning. It’s a fresh start. Everybody loves a clean slate.”

“So people do things that don’t make them happy all year, and then they try to stop on January first?” asked the oldest.

“Now you’ve got it!” I said.

“What’s your resolution, Daddy?”

“Same as last year,” I answered. “It’s a work in progress.”

_________________________

New Year’s Eve found us on the crowded paths of Disneyland. The masses were armed with noisemakers, churros, and matching party hats. As far as mob mentality goes, joyful celebration is probably my favorite — although I do enjoy a good monster chase (when else am I going to use my pitchfork and torch?). It was almost 8 p.m., and we were feeling every hour of it. And then some.

“Family up,” I said above the din of the revelry. It was a new term I was trying out. It had a bit of the Phil Dunphy to it. My wife wasn’t sold.

“Here are our options,” I explained to the boys. “It’s very fun in here, but it’s also kind of crazy. The lines are too long to ride anything. We can walk around the park until midnight, go over to Disney’s California Adventure, or stroll through Downtown Disney on the way back to the hotel.”

“Hotel.” They said in unison. My wife also said it, but I had known her answer going in. Hers was a vote of moral support and confidence. Also, she knew we had wine in the room.

And so it was that we strolled through Downtown Disney as promised. We listened to live music. We bought candy apples. The boys spent their Christmas money at the Lego store.

The Disneyland Hotel was quiet. Not even a mouse stirred. There were Legos, glasses of wine, a good book and a warm bed. There were cartoons on the television, which, to boys that don’t have a TV, is almost as exciting as the park we had left.

My wife was asleep by 9:30.

Around 10:45 I announced that the lights were going off. There was whining, complaints, and futile attempts at logic and reason. I told the boys that if they were still awake at midnight we could turn the TV back on and watch the ball drop. They had no idea what I was talking about, but since it included television they assumed it must be a good deal and they took it.

They were asleep by 10:46. I was right behind them.

___________________________

The distance closed with flashes and echoes. It started above a castle and just kept going. Boom! Boom! Boom! Firework after firework filled the sky. It sounded like a battle, and perhaps it was — the fight between a new year entering and one not quite ready to leave. The curtains were too thick to betray our darkness, but along the floor crept the occasional dance of bright lights and brilliance. There was singing from the ground below, so many Whos, and their voices carried into the night on the backs of booms and hopes filled with laughter.

“Do you hear that?” I asked the room. The only reply was steady breath and slight snores. And then, as quickly as they had appeared, the noises ended. It was just us, an empty bottle of wine, a floor full of Legos, and a TV sitting dark and forgotten.

“Happy New Year,” I whispered.

Steady breath. Slight snores. So far the year was perfect.

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