by Amy Ruhlin
It's New Year's Eve and my husband and I are at home. We are dressed for the evening in our favorite sweats, soft slippers and fuzzy socks. We sit in front of the fireplace as our dinner simmers on the stove. The food smells good and the fire is warm. We open a bottle of red wine and it tastes especially smooth. "It was on sale," my husband says, and we grin as we take our first sips, enjoying the pleasure of a good wine at a cheap price.
Our son walks into the room and shows us that he is dressed for the evening, too."Do I look OK?" he asks. He is wearing dress pants, a collared shirt and a striped bow tie. He is 17 and tall and handsome.
"You look terrific," we say. I can see the excitement in his face as he anticipates his evening: dinner out with a large group of friends and a bonfire at midnight.
Our daughter is away on a trip. She bought a new black dress for the occasion and tried it on for me before she left. She looked young and beautiful and for a moment, I wished I was 20 again and off to New York in a black dress to celebrate the New Year. The morning she left, I could feel her excitement.
When our son leaves the house, my husband and I turn on the television to watch a football game, but the power goes out and our home becomes dark and quiet. We light candles and talk about the past year and our memories seem especially sweet as we share them in a room illuminated from the light of three small flames.
From our window, we can see that the entire street is dark, so we step outside to take a look. There is no electricity for as far as we can see and the light from the moon shows off the bare limbs of the trees in winter. It is cold and the night looks especially beautiful .
Later, when the power is back on, my husband watches the football game while I read in another room. We both have our cell phones nearby in hopes of texts from our children. We don't hear from them, so my husband sends me texts, pictures of himself making silly faces and it makes me laugh. He has been making me laugh for 28 years, but tonight I think he is especially funny and tonight I laugh especially hard.
Sometimes, I miss the excitement of my youth, but tonight I do not. Tonight, I realize that I have exchanged it for something even better: I have exchanged it for the ability to see that our extraordinary times often happen in our most ordinary moments.
And I realize that as this year begins, I am no longer concerned that I have no list of resolutions. Instead, I am content knowing that my only wish is to have a most ordinary year.