A New Years Bash to Remember

It started with a rockin’ dance party.

My daughter Nichol cleared the living room of all furniture and taped smooth sheets over the carpet to make dancing easier. She died her blonde hair black and put on a brilliant tie-dye tee-shirt and denim skirt. Her husband Nate cued up the music for the evening and attached speakers to the computer. We blew up balloons. It was a small party, six adults and seven children from one year old to almost fourteen.

At 9:00 the lights went down, the bubble machine started pumping bubbles, and the disco ball flashed multi-colored lights across the floor and ceiling. And then we danced. And danced. And danced. Little Sophie (1 year old) learned to twirl her long skirt as she spun circles. Gavin (almost 14) taught me the line dance steps to Cotton eye Joe. The twins, Korah and Kelsey (young, slim pre-teens) sang and danced, their arms reaching for the ceiling. Jaaron was higher than a kite (on dancing—he’s 12) and the two three-year-olds were sweating and breathless.

Mommies and Daddies danced. Grandma and Grampa danced. At one point Brian turned his three-year-old into an air guitar—Kaden loved it!

Later Kaden told me, “This is the best day of my life.” (He says that nearly every day—I’ve adopted it as my mantra for 2012.)

At 10:00 we did the New Years countdown (little ones needed their beds) and shot off confetti and screamed, “Happy New Years!”

Wow, that was so much fun. What I loved most was just the sweet, wide-open feeling of it all. No angst or stress, no dramas, no worries—just arms raised high, feet stomping, celebrating life and the good fun of being all together. The last song of the night was “I had the time of my life . . . and I owe it all to you.” We did the dirty bits version and followed it with the real version. I danced with my grandson Gavin who is now taller than I am. It was the perfect way to bring in the New Year.

New Years Lesson #1

We don’t need to take life so seriously. We need to blow out the pipes, celebrate, laugh, dance and play.

 New Years Mantra for 2012

“This is the best day of my life!”

New Years Bash–Part Two

The big kids had permission to stay up all night. (They made it until 2:00). On New Year’s Day we had a Tamale party and smooshed masarina batter into cornhusks and steamed them. During a lull Milt and I were apologizing to the twins for still not being able to tell them apart. Korah and Kelsey are identical twins. We decided to ask them to explain to us their differences. 

Korah pointed out that she wears a little ‘K’ necklace with amber beads–and that she never takes it off. We started to ask more direct questions. I asked which of them was more socially shy and which one was more out there. Korah admitted to her shyness, and Kelsey said that she was more out there. Korah is better at sticking with a task until she masters it—Kelsey likes to roam. Korah also admitted that she tends to worry more. They are both pretty good violinists. We even had them stand back to back and could easily see that Kelsey has a good two inches over her sister.  Gavin was there, too, and we asked him a lot of questions. He will be 14 this year and is now taller than I am. He wants to be a doctor.

What was most interesting was the exchange itself–asking smart children to self-evaluate.  It is so amazing to see the difference in children who have been allowed to express themselves, to enter into conversation, to be listened to carefully. I’ve been around many children who are not given this simple courtesy. 

We all want someone to listen. We don’t want to be told what we should or shouldn’t be feeling or doing. We don’t want to be lectured or advised. We don’t want to be shut down with a look or a tone of voice. We don’t want to be humiliated or told that our infant ideas are stupid. What if we could just listen to others without constantly filtering each word through our own busy brains? What if we could listen to another the way we listen to the wind in the trees? We never ask the wind to stop being the wind. Now, as I consider this, I don’t really want to ask myself not to be who I am either. I can see that the filters of my mind are always set to “how can I help?” But sometimes people don’t want my help. I could become a better listener myself. Remove the helper/teacher filters and become a better listener.

New Year’s Lesson #2

Listen like the wind.

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A New Years Bash to Remember — 4 Comments

  1. Jamie, nee Patty, you are an amazing Mom, Grandmother, and insightful human being. I love you and your words. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012.

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