As for New Years itself, I have to say that have begun to doubt that I want to continue this Dinner we have had going on for the past six years. Several friends who were unable to make it last year and had assured us this year would be the year... bowed out again. And three families we invited here declined to join us as well. I even invited friends we don't know well at all and whom we had never had over (but who we would love to have here and get to know better!)... but they were either out of town or not available(/not interested). Besides the Laughlins, the only friends coming for sure were our backdoor neighbors and I started to feel bad that Mike and Kasey were coming all this way for this Big Traditional Dinner... and it was turning out to be just us for dinner. (They had already met and hung out with J&K with us last time they were here in town)(and I know Laughlins weren't just coming for the dinner; I know that they want to come and visit and be here just because, but it was a big trip for them at a busy time and the dinner was the whole reason they were coming when they were coming.)
Anyway, the past few weeks leading into this, I was once again discouraged. And all my woe-is-me thoughts from last year came sneaking back in. And I pretty much decided I was done. I didn't want to have all these ideas for traditions and decorations and fun things to add to our New Years celebration... and be disappointed again and again when friends weren't coming back. Or coming at all. I tend to put a lot of (too much?) thought and effort into these dinners and I really don't want to get bummed out leading into it every year.
So honestly, I don't know where I stand for now.
I love doing this. I love having these traditions and wanting to include our friends. I love, love, love having people here to share in celebrating the year behind us and the new one ahead. I love having something for everyone to look forward to... and look forward to the same traditions every year. And we always do have a great time and I'm so thankful for the friends that join us.
But I don't like how I seem to be taking it so.... personally(?) when it seems hard to come by invitees each year now and that I get so frustrated not knowing who is coming year to year. I kept telling myself it would be better this year, feeling more settled, with more friends here. Or maybe it'll be better next year.
Or maybe I just need to get over myself...
I am so happy we got to have the Laughlins here this year.
And J&K. They've been like a second family of sorts -our share a meal, wanna see a movie, play a card game, grab a beer go-to's- for us here next door and I'm so thankful they moved in behind us this past summer.
And the Harkins family ended up here again... you may remember they had joined us last year. Mindy finally came home from the hospital/rehab Thanksgiving weekend and this was the first time we've had the whole family over since her stroke last summer. We are so thankful she was able to be here and it was great to have them all join in the tradition again. (and Mindy's mom too!)
Here are some peeks at our dinner this year...
(click on it to read
our lucky stars
(sj wrote her own "fortunes" in them)
our traditional peppermint pig time after dinner
and this year's whole gang
Rhoda (Mindy's mom) holding Wesley 4mos, Mindy, Kevin holding Micah 2.5yrs, Evan 2.5yrs, Mike, Kyle 6yrs, Kasey holding Alex 7mos, Sawyer 6yrs, Ryan, Savannah 8.5yrs, Me, Kelly and Jason.
Thanks for bringing in the New Year with us, you guys! We loved celebrating with you!!
I wanted to say thanks, to the few of you who have commented, for the encouragement.
I feel I need to be sure it's known that I do not mean to insinuate that anyone is specifically "flaky"... or that I expect everyone who is invited to be here, or that once people are here I expect them to be locked in for life. ;) I understand things come up, travel is not always appealing, etc, etc.
I realize I often just need to adjust my expectations... I do need to remember that people have different priorities. Not having family close, friends are often our big priority. We enjoy traveling (heck, we didn't think twice about making a seven hour drive to be at our godson's 2nd birthday) and we enjoy creating traditions with people who are important to us. I need to keep sight of the fact that that is just not how everyone operates.
And I need to stop allowing myself those moments of losing sight of why we're wanting to do this... it's not about 'me and my party'-- but as these comments have so graciously reminded me, if I do this, I want to be focused on who is able to be at our table and we are able to share our meal and our new year with... and that I want each of them to know they are appreciated in our home. If that's not my focus, I have no reason to be hosting this dinner anyway.