As the old year comes to a close and the new one begins, people all over the world celebrate the transition with various traditions and rituals. Some traditions involve fireworks, others involve singing or dancing, and some involve more personal and intimate rituals that honor loved ones and memories. For many people, the New Year's holiday is a time of reflection and remembrance. It's a time to think about the people who have touched our lives and the memories we have shared with them.
My tradition is a phone call with my cousins and a shot of whiskey at the stroke of midnight in honor of my mother.
My mother and her sister started this tradition years ago. After her sister's death, my. mother continued this tradition by adding me and my cousins to the annual celebration. Everyone on the call drank a shot of alcohol at the stroke of twelve. My go-to was tequila; that smooth fire in a glass. I have my favorite brands but I would take on the new year with whatever I had on hand. My mother, not so much.
She enjoyed whiskey - Canadian Club. I have spent New Year's on video calls with my mother numerous times over the decades and she would laugh every time I shuttered as she poured her glass. I couldn't stand the stuff. No, I preferred an añejo tequila and I would watch her pull a face every time I grabbed my bottle.
We would chat - lively banter about our day, remembering the previous year and any plan we had for the next. My last New Year with my mother she asked only one thing - that I keep the tradition alive. That I not let the distance between myself and my cousins to let me forget my family or the traditions that mattered to them.
So here I am, just hours before this annual ritual is to begin, wishing I still had my mother to call tonight. To tell her how terrible her taste in celebration beverage is and for her to do the same. To tell her I love her and I will see her next year.
I know that we will celebrate tonight (at 11 pm my time since I am the odd man out in the Midwest while everyone else is on the East Coast.) I will talk with my cousins, laugh, and tell stories about our mothers, all dead and gone but never forgotten. We keep them alive in our stories, our laughter, and our traditions.