Thursday, December 31, 2009

What a difference a decade makes...

December 31, 1999
My parents, new husband and I embarked on an adventure only my mom (and a million or so other crazies) would have planned: New Year's in Times Square.

Our day started around 5 am when we awoke, dressed in our warmest gear, and headed down to claim our spot in one of the "pens" close to the crystal ball. (NYPD long ago figured out that crowd control is best accomplished by keeping us all segregated into manageable numbers of people in carefully counted and locked gated compounds - our "pen.") We were in place by 6am, yet enough other revelers were already in the square that our pen was still two blocks back from the front row. In addition to what ended up being a prime location, God graciously paved the way for what otherwise might have been a truly miserable 18 hour wait for the ball drop. My uncles - nearly-native Manhattanites - wisely stayed home, but equipped us with a mountain of blankets. We were blessed with not-freezing weather in a city that often ices out its visitors in December. Y2K that threatened to cripple all transportation and communication and to bring out all the terrorists ended up being a non-event. Our "neighbors" (or most of them at least) eventually became friends and helped us pass the hours. The time was also more easily counted-down with an hourly parade in honor of each region of the world ringing in the new millennium at that moment. Some of the parades, naturally, were pretty cheesy, but we were close enough to the action to be given all the accompanying accessories to make for a better TV shot (hence the lovely hats!). We even got a call from a friend who saw us on one of the major networks for at least a split-second or two. Of course, not all of the 18 hours were so glamorous. See, once you're locked into a pen you can get out, but not back in. The police graciously gave us limited in-out privileges because we could show the keys to our Times Square hotel room. We each got one trip to the bathroom and one trip for food. Our neighbors, not so much. When they huddled around an empty milk jug, the liquid that refilled it was not beer (I know, TMI... I thought so too). At times we were cold. At times we were bored. But it truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Once-in-a-lifetime partly because we're not likely to do it again, but mostly because it is still incredibly memorable. And oh yeah, the midnight dropping of the ball was pretty cool too!

Fast-forward a decade...

December 31, 2009

The kids are asleep and I'm sitting here on our couch with Danny, cuddled up with my jammies and favorite laptop, feeling the effects of a wild and crazy night at Round Table for pizza and McDonald's PlayPlace for sundaes. Not at all glamorous. We may not even make it until midnight. But this night to me is special for its ordinariness. By God's grace I have a home I love to be in, kids I enjoy being with, and a husband who chooses to love me even when I'm not so lovable. Times Square in 1999 was incredible, but I wouldn't trade it for my spot right here in 2009.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree--couldn't tell you which memory I cherish the most. You have an amazing way with words. Happy New Year 2010--only 7 minutes to go!!! Love, Mom

By the Brook said...

Happy New Year- glad we get to spend time with you guys today. Hoping that Danny will greet us at the door in his Christmas outfit!

Lisa writes... said...

Love it! We too have turned into curl-up-on-the-sofa-and-go-to-bed-way-before-midnight New Year's revelers!