A Whole Lot of Wonderful (with a Little Bit of Ick)

Happy New Year! It’s still kind of hard to believe that 2015 is our year: the year we’ll tie the knot. Wow. And…wow!

I don’t know if it’s true that one’s New Year’s Eve experience is a harbinger of the year to come, but our conclusion of 2014 was a microcosm of the mixed bag that is marriage (and life): a whole lot of wonderful with a modicum of miserable thrown in to keep us humble. The wonderful: we concluded an amazing trip to England, where we spent Christmas and New Year’s visiting Oxford (Steve’s youngest, Dusty, is studying there), London, and Stratford-upon-Avon. It was an incredible week: attending midnight Eucharist at St. Mary’s church in Oxford, drinking cider at a tavern older than the United States, touching an English yew in the botanical gardens planted in 1645. After days spent viewing London from the top of the Eye, watching the ravens at the Tower, and seeing a moving performance of Love’s Labour’s Lost at the RSC, we toasted the New Year with chocolate stout and warm mulled cider at the Angel and Greyhound pub. It’s hard to express the sense of wonder, gratitude, and even disbelief that comes with sharing such moments—Am I really here? Is this really my life? How did I get so lucky?

Yet the universe has a way of keeping your feet on the ground, and while there are far worse miseries, the last days of the trip offered an excellent chance to test loving and cherishing each other “in sickness and in health.” We think it started with Steve (though I’m still second-guessing the wisdom of drinking from the communal wine goblet on Christmas Eve). But in any case, his sniffles became my sinus congestion became son Tucker’s stuffed-up ears. Exhausted, it was all I could do to keep my head up off the table and breathe without a coughing fit during our New Year’s visit to the pub. Full disclosure: we didn’t make it until midnight.

By the time the clock actually turned twelve, we were back in our rented flat, sitting on the couch in pajamas, having set an alarm on the cell phone and trying to figure out whether there was any place it showed a ticking second hand. Outside a cathedral clock began its midnight toll, and as the alarm buzzed and the church bell chimed, Steve and I shared a kiss and a smile.

Just then the bells exploded into celebratory ringing, and when I opened a window to better hear them, the sounds of fireworks began. Framed by the second living room window, colors burst across the sky. Several times the display seemed at an end, and then fizzzz-POP, more light-flowers blossomed. Steve discovered we could see even better from the bedroom, so we moved there to watch the last few minutes. Leaning against him, his arms wrapped around me, bells ringing and sky alight, I forgot about feeling crummy for a few blissful moments.

So, yeah, it was a pretty darn good start to the new year, all in all.

Now, time for another pour. Of cough syrup, that is. Cheers, y’all!

Wishing you and yours a year full of love, peace, and new adventures!

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