And I say, "Good riddance!"
2008 turned out to be THE most difficult year of our lives, bar none. We had an enormous amount of devastating events that occurred back, to back, to back... all in one single, solitary year.
Our faith was tested more in 2008 than in any other year since becoming Christians. But we also grew stronger in our relationship to the Lord than ever before. We learned to trust Him with our very lives. We learned to rely on Him for absolutely everything. We relied on him for food, shelter, clothes, everything. We lost "fake" friends, moved far away from "dear" friends, rekindled relationships with old friends, and made new friends.
Our marriage became stronger in 2008 than it had since 1997 when we got married, and in all of the rest of the years combined. Jay's prolonged unemployment, in essence, "forced" us to spend A LOT of time together. So, obviously, there was also a lot of "forced" communication between us. We overcame many, many obstacles during those stressful months. And, we have come out of it all in much better shape as a result.
2009 definitely brings with it the hope of better things yet to come. At the very least, it has to be better than 2008... for our family anyway.
We don't normally put too much stock into all of the "hype" that accompanies New Year's. To us, it has always been "just another day". We are much too old and too tired to ever really stay awake until midnight and "watch the ball drop". This year, however, we decided that we wanted to usher out the burdensome 2008 year, and say "HELLO!" to this new year -- this "fresh start" and "new beginning".
So, we did something that we hardly ever do. We let the kids stay up past their bedtimes. We told them they were allowed to stay up as long as they possibly could. Which, of course, got them so excited, one would have thought they had just witnessed the ball dropping to ring in the new year.
We played board games. We ate lots of snacks and junk food (another thing that doesn't normally happen in our family). We played video games. We chased them through the house, and let them jump on their beds. (Okay... we did a LOT of things we don't normally let them do. But this was no ordinary day for our family, and we wanted them to know it).
Eventually, though, the late hour began to take it's toll on the children. They got slower, and slower until, they all got very still (which also doesn't happen often). I put a bunch of pillows on the living room floor and they all got their blankets and cuddled up while we watched videos until the time came for the ball to drop.
They didn't last that long.
The Next to Go...
After we put the littler ones to bed, we did go ahead and wake R up for the ball dropping. She woke up for the last 5 minutes of it, but was very groggy, so I made her stand up to try to help her stay awake (she had told us earlier in the day that she really, really wanted to see it).
When the countdown finally came, and the ball dropped, she looked at me and said, "That was it??????? I thought the ball was going to drop." After I explained that it had been dropping, slowly going farther and farther towards the bottom of the pole, she said, "Oh. Well, that's boring. I'm going to bed now."
She told me this morning that she thought the ball was going to fall really fast when the clock got to zero. She said that she enjoyed all of the silly stuff we did as a family (video games, jumping on the beds, etc), but that she probably wont stay up that late anymore.
Ahhh... That's my good girl. :o)