He was on duty as a police officer downtown, making sure that the celebration there stayed safe for everyone; and we were at home, missing him. But even though we wished he could have been here, we still had fun. :)
Sweet Moriah got tucked into bed at the usual time, but the boys all got to stay up until midnight. They all made it but one. Shav fell asleep as we watched The Secret Garden (I watched with one eye and worked on that looooong blog post with my other eye - ha!); and shortly before midnight, I tried to wake him up so he could go outside with his brothers and bang pots and pans and shout "Happy new year!" But he was so completely out-of-it--and grumpy as a bear wakened early from hibernation--that he couldn't manage to rouse himself and participate. That was a bummer.
However, this morning when Shav was expressing his dismay to Jeff that he missed that opportunity, Jeff came up with the terrific idea for Shav to get a pan and a lid and go upstairs with Jeff to the boys' rooms so they could be an alarm clock for David and Tobin who were still sleeping. I thought it was hysterical. :) I love Jeff for the way his mind works differently than mine and the creative solutions he finds to parenting dilemmas. I would have talked with Shav about how I understood his disappointment at not being awake at midnight and how, yes, it was sad that he didn't get to bang pots and pans and that maybe tonight he could go outside and do it, a day late. I would have hugged Shav and maybe rocked with him and tried to ease his pain. But Jeff? His plan was way different from mine. Taking revenge (harmless, of course!) on your brothers is a pretty fun way to start the new year, and it certainly made a new memory for us! I can easily imagine my boys sitting around when they're in their 40s, saying, "Do you remember that year when Dad told Shav to come into our rooms early on New Year's Day and bang a pot to wake us up because he didn't get to do it the night before?" :)
It's a tradition that I love--and appreciate Jeff for letting me continue it! After all, he's the one who stays at home, takes care of the younger children, and usually does some work to help clean up in the kitchen. It's a true gift he gives me to have that time away!
This year, Josiah and David went along, and my parents did, too. It was a delight to walk in and see some friends that we hadn't seen for quite a long time since they are now living in Puerto Rico. It was also fun to see some other choristers from the Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir there. :)
Unlike the past six years, I wasn't called on to lead a song; but towards the end, an invitation was given for anyone who wanted to lead to come forward and do so. David, who was sitting right beside me and who very helpfully found the right page in the songbook each time a new song was announced, nudged me hard and made sure I knew that he thought I'd better get up there! So I did. :)
Sometimes at those singings, I wish I could just freeze time. I wish I could record the music and let it continue to wash over me, in all its power and intensity, long after the evening was over. I wish I could picture the faces of the singers, so diverse in their backgrounds and worship practices, long after they had all departed.
Sometimes I think that it would be glorious if the angels could be singing Dedication Anthem (AKA 606, or 118, or The Mennonite National Anthem) when I enter the gates of heaven.
Sometimes I feel like I can't even stay on the ground any longer, and I'll have to float away, carried aloft by the majesty of the music.
Yes, tonight was one of those nights. :)
After it was over, we stayed to chat with some people, including the row of black-coated men behind us. To be honest, I wondered what they thought of me, a woman, leading a song, since in their church services, they only use male songleaders; but they were very kind and complimentary and told me they appreciated my leading and they could tell that I really enjoyed singing and they thought Josiah and David did so well, etc. As they pieced together who I am based on who my dad is and where I live and who my next-door neighbors are, one of them said, "Was your husband the one who helped Doug...?" and his voice trailed off. I knew what he was talking about. The robbery. Yes, Jeff was the one who rescued our neighbor from a bad, dangerous situation. In the tight-knit Mennonite community here in our county, that kind of action will win a man fans for life; and it was obvious the men sitting in the pew behind me tonight were big Jeff Fisher fans. :)
As we were walking out of the church building, there were two horse-and-buggies leaving from the parking lot; and one of them had bells on the harness of the horse--gorgeous sleigh bells that rang out beautifully through the crisp night air. For a moment, I thought I was back with Almanzo and Laura in De Smet, South Dakota! ;-) I was glad to get into my minivan and turn on the heat, but I also wistfully thought that those in a buggy with bells had a better ride home than I did tonight! :)
It was the perfect way to spend the first evening of 2015. :)