Growing up in Chicago, it was always cold on New Years Day. Which meant I wasn’t a happy camper. I remember squeezing my lips together tight and crossing my arms in front of my chest. I wanted my mom to know I was MAD. I even started to squint my eyes and started to blow huge breathes out of my nose. I was puffing so hard you would have thought I was the wolf trying to blow the three little piggies house down.
My mom was trying to hug and reassure me that she would return shortly. My five-year-old body took two hard stomps backward. I was determined to show my disappointment in hopes she’d change her mind and let me go with her to the market. Yet, I refused to cry. She managed to kiss me on my shoulder as I turned away. I was stubborn. I now had my back to her as she told me she loved me and said she would return soon.
As I heard the door lock one tear fell from my eye. My grandma walked over to me and said, “Now, your Mom is sad that you didn’t say goodbye.” I ran to the door and I caught her before she left the porch and screamed, “I love you mommy and I’m still mad!” She turned and smiled as she blew me a kiss and mouthed, I love you too.
My grandma picked me up and said: “Let’s close this door before you catch a cold.” She assured me that my mom would come back soon. She sat me down on the couch next to her and said, “Let’s watch Charlie Brown.” I remember pouting. I didn’t want to watch it, I wanted to go with Mommy. My grandma then placed me on her lap and tried to explain why I couldn’t go.
Then I heard the word I always heard when I couldn’t enjoy things I wanted which caused me to visit the ER. That word was asthma. Although, by then I was captivated by the cartoon that I said I didn’t want to watch. I was so mad at asthma. I wanted asthma to go away. I asked my granny how could I get rid of asthma.
I hated asthma and didn’t want to hear about it so all I heard was, “Waamp waamp wamp wamp waamp wamp” like in Charlie Brown when the parents are talking. So my grandma’s words faded as I focused more on the cartoon. My younger brothers were playing with their cars on the coffee table, while my father and older siblings were at the church helping to prepare for the New Year’s day luncheon.
Just when the cartoon went off my mom came back and that’s when my sister Tonja told me about what she experienced at the store. She smiled as she shared her adventures. I know she was trying to share the joy with me but I wanted to be there to stomp through the snow and to see Old-man Charlie who gave her peppermint sticks for us to share. I wanted to put on my pretty snowsuit and make a snow angel too.
While my mom was preparing the food, I sat at the table with my peppermint staring at her really hard hoping she would feel guilty about leaving me at home. She would never challenge my anger but would just be sweet to me and ask if I wanted to help her ‘pick the beans’ or stir the cornbread, or rinse the greens.
Before I knew it, the anger was gone and I was enjoying cooking with my mom and sister. I remember watching closely as my sister cracked the eggs in the cornbread and I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to do it. While we cooked my grandma would tell us stories about the past and explain why we eat certain things on New Year’s Day.
During dinner, my dad would have us all share our goals for this year and what steps we would take to accomplish them. He would even suggest goals for each of us. Usually, mine would have something to do with my sister Tonja and I getting along better.
These times were so much fun and a tradition that has stood the test of time. I enjoyed hearing from my family then and enjoy hearing from my family now. I look forward to cooking with my family and setting the tone for the upcoming year.
How do you bring in the new year? Do you have goals you want to accomplish? Did you make plans for the new year? Please share in the comments below. I really would love to know.
Until next time, shine amongst the stars!
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