Shortly after midnight, the procession up the stairs to J’s room began. Per his usual, he had climbed the stairs, said goodnight and shoved me out of his room at around 10 PM so by the time midnight rolled around he was snoring rather loudly. Glasses of prosecco in hand, we all kissed his forehead and wished him a happy new year, turned around and let him go on sleeping. A little while later, we all went to sleep with 2011 in the books and 2012 slowly starting.
It is a presidential election year. It is an Olympics year. The Mayans predicted the end of the world for this year. I am more concerned about the presidential election than about the Mayans, quite honestly. As I sit here, having written the rent check and using fingers and toes to work on the budget for the month, I have visions of a housewife standing up at a town hall meeting and asking candidates “how do you propose I go to the grocery store with $70 to feed three kids, a husband and still manage to do the back-to-school shopping in August?” I haven’t seen these many frazzled women at the grocery store since the late seventies when my mother used to buy what can only be described as a box of frozen grade-C chicken that would be converted into any dish that she could concoct.
For us this will be the year of the leftovers or, as our oldest has taken to saying, “walking dead meals that keep on giving.” Tonight, as part of welcoming the new year, we are making a batch of meatballs and I’ve declared a two-meatball maximum which was vigorously protested (they tried to call it Occupy the Kitchen but I said “if you don’t move I’ll give you a mop and you’ll have to clean the floor” and the mass scattered) and then negotiated to tw0-meatball maximum with penne rather than spaghetti (they calculated it’s bulkier) and garlic toast (before the sandwich bread goes bad.) This is the plan for most meals this year: what can I do with it when the first bloom has faded?
I don’t yet know what to think of 2012 other than it’s going to be a lean year. It is too soon to say what’s going to happen, but judging by the less bombastic celebrations (never mind the fireworks in Sydney) and the subdued mood that seems to have ushered the old year out and the new one in, we are all in wait-and-see mode.
J will be seventeen and we have to get going on the guardianship documents. We have a year and thirty days to figure it all out. I can feel more gray hair starting to push its way out of my scalp as I type that. J, of course, is still oblivious to the greater issues that affect the world’s economy, our economy and his ever-shortening status as (legally) a minor. Does one register him to vote? Does he have to sign up for selective service? Where is the handbook for all that is to come?
To J it’s just Sunday. The weekly schedule has been altered to include BACKPACK and BUS from Tuesday all the way through to Friday, and that has made him happy. Back to the routine, he seems to say with his smile, and “thank goodness!” I feel guilty because I can no longer make his time at home thrilling, but I am also accepting of the fact that, well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. (I am going to keep repeating how cool I am with this ’til I manage to actually be cool with it…this might take a while.)
Today we are starting J’s new exercise regimen: two Wii runs a day, and climbing the small slope behind our unit five times…next week he will hopefully do it ten times, and the following week we will work on a slightly steeper slope. Anything, my friends, to get him a little fitter and moving a little more…
In the meantime…here we are. I, for one, have seen 46 new year’s eves (I can’t recall all 46, I admit, some because I was too young, others because I’ve gone to sleep early…how exciting am I, really????) and hope to see a few more. Maybe this is the year before the year before the year it gets better for everyone? I don’t know…all I know is our household has plenty to work on in 2012. J’s medication-related weight has to be worked on, and we have to come up with bigger, better ways of communicating with him. He has, we’ve noticed, lots to say and no consistent way of saying it…so let’s open THAT can of worms any way we can, shall we?
I get the feeling we are in for a roller coaster in more ways than one. I am sure the Mayans are, compared to what we are getting into, the least of our concerns. If the world is going to end (and it just might because John Cusack made a movie about it and we all know Lloyd Dobbler would be the go-to-guy for all things end-of-the-world) all our preparations and fretting will be pointless, but I get the feeling a year from now I’ll be sitting here wondering if 2013 will be the year…for something.
Quite honestly, I don’t know how ready we are for any of this. All around the world people are wondering as I am, and they are hoping and dreading… I think the main thing is that we are clearly not alone in this whole mess, and I know I’m not the only one who’s waiting for answers on the economy, the state of the world…and the kid…