New Year’s Eve plans are left in tatters when my daughter tests positive for covid.
Recently we spent a long walk talking about how hurt she felt when her boyfriend wouldn’t commit to seeing her on the last night of the year preferring instead to go to a house party with a friend.
I told her that any man who wouldn’t prioritise her over a cramped gathering with cheap lager didn’t doesn’t deserve to be with her at all, but I know nobody listens in affairs of the heart.
She bemoaned the absence of other social options and a seemingly endless run of bad luck on the one night of the year we both wish we could just forget about.
In the end, she received several other invites none of which she can now accept.
While her mother worries that she’ll be upset at missing out I suspect a part of her is pleased to avoid the tyranny of FOMO which has a habit of disappearing when you don’t have a choice.
Last year, when the kids were locked down at home, I thought I’d have to stay up until midnight to keep them company.
“We watched the fireworks from bed,” my son told me earlier this week when I was complaining that I’d had to stay awake until the early hours of the morning last year, an observation which turned out to be faulty memory.
“It’s worrying that you can get annoyed about things that didn’t even happen,” my son says.
Everyone in the house is wearing masks and the scene resembles an Alan Ayckbourn farce as my daughter enters by one door and everyone leaves by another into space otherwise unoccupied and, presumably, with a lower viral load.
There has been a cold in the household all week too, somewhat overshadowed by “the real deal,” but I remain unconvinced that this too isn’t covid and that the walls aren’t closing in.
I’ve developed a headache that I can’t shift and break my habit of never Googling anything medical to find that an immovable headache is a common sign of the Omicron variant.
Alternatively, it could be a consequence of my spending several hours changing more than forty passwords which, according to my password app, have been “compromised”.
I get myself into a terrible tangle and wonder why I’m bothering with security on sites I haven’t used for years.
I discover on “Tunecore” that I have earned $4.54 in royalties for my music in the past seven years perfectly illustrating the idiom “don’t give up the day job.”
The whole exercise has been such a trial I am bound to get a blog post out of it, but then I discover I wrote about exactly the same subject almost exactly a year ago.
I am a slave to routine.
If there is any benefit at all in getting old it is that one can surrender to the things one fought so hard against in the past.
So, I will not be staying up until midnight regardless of anyone else’s opinion, and I will not be making any new year resolutions because behaviour change is hard enough at the best of times without harnessing it unwillingly to a fixed point in time.
I text my daughter.
“I’m OK at the moment but I don’t know how I’ll feel tonight.”
No matter how engaged I am as a parent and how connected I feel to my children there are some things that age obfuscates.
The excuse to sit on my own, read books, and go to sleep early feels like pretty much the best New Year’s Eve I can imagine.
In the morning there is a beautiful sunrise in the park as we walk alone by the lake. Last year the whole family came walking because everyone had been in bed early watching the fireworks.
We all clambered up the muddy hill towards breakfast together and it was the most wonderful start to a year I can remember.