1994 was the New Years Eve that I fell in love with Byron. I had met him on a holiday that August and thought he was sexy and funny but celebrating New Year in cold Edinburgh was when I really fell for him. Memories of frosty breath, tartan kilts and the excitement of youth that nothing can dampen.
Fast forward a few years to when I was happily married and pregnant with my second baby, Rhiannon. It was 1999. The eve of a new millennium. My grandmother whom I adored was ill and fading fast. Everyone told her how wonderful it would be for her to live in two centuries. She told them it held no appeal. I was in Ireland and waiting for the call from my Mum at the hospital. She died at 5.30pm. While the rest of the world cheered in the new century we tried to smile and toast my wonderful Gran but our eyes overflowed.
New Years Eve 2000. My brother flew home from Australia and once again I travelled to Ireland with Byron, Sian and our baby Rhiannon. We pretended it was the eve of the millennium again and we had a wonderful family meal. My parents gave each of us kids a set of two Waterford crystal glass champagne glasses. We toasted our health and our futures and promised to use the glasses every New Years eve no matter where we were.
New Years eves since have been quieter affairs. Since we moved to Australia in 2005 Byron and myself have celebrated together by having a nice meal after the kids went to bed and going for a dip in the pool at midnight. This year my sister Carrie is with us. My parents in Ireland will be boarding a plane in the early hours of New Years Day and starting the long 24 hour flight to join us. My Dad has not been very well over the last year. It will be great to see them both but it will also be very emotional as we know we cannot take for granted how his or anyone else's health might be by this time next year. When my Dad makes a toast he always uses this old Irish saying:
"Go mbeirimid beo ar an am so arís"
It means "May we all be alive and well the same time next year"
Just writing this upsets me because it is more poignant now than it ever has been. My wish for this New Year is that it will bring peace and happiness to our family and to yours. That we will all live every day like it is our last. That we will cherish our kids and take time to smell the roses. That we will love and be loved and that on this day next year we will look back on 2010 and smile knowing that it was a good one.
Happy New Year everyone.