I realized as I was washing up the dishes after dinner on New Year’s Eve that the night felt very much like a Friday. Pizza after work and game night with the kids. But it was a Tuesday, which means in just a couple of days we’ll do it all again, on Friday (just maybe not pizza again). We get two Fridays this week! Two nights where we’re not in “school night” mode. Two nights of relaxing family time.

The only thing that was different last night than most Friday nights was that we stayed up to ring in the new year. As has become tradition, we toasted with the kids with sparkling grape juice. Caroline was at a friend’s, but Carter had a friend here, so it was still two kids to welcome the new year with me.

At midnight I had a second realization. It’s time for me to publicly admit that I like staying up until midnight and watching the ball drop in Times Square.

Bill would probably say that’s not news to him. After being married almost 19 years, he’s spent plenty of New Year’s Eve evenings watching Ryan Seacrest or Carson Daly do their DJ thing, and artists we don’t know sing songs we barely recognize (until the past couple of years when I recognize them as “Caroline’s music”).

I know that going from 11:59 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. is just another minute in another day. But I like being awake to experience moving from one year to the next.

Here’s why. For me, there’s something sort of comforting about seeing all those people in Times Square (or London or Sydney) celebrating a new year arriving, and me being a part of it with them. So many people with so much excitement and joy — and hope.

I’m not really one for making New Year’s resolutions, but there’s something refreshing or maybe even inspiring about thinking of things as a new start. A new chance to make the world a better place. A new year to make memories with the family. Another year of birthdays, hikes to the creek, fireworks at the Fourth of July, and Christmas fun.

I had all those thoughts swimming around in my head, in my flannel PJs, toasting to 2020 with Carter with our glasses full of sparkling grape juice.

And then this morning I got up and saw this poem on Facebook, written by my friend Abby Catoe. It’s like she channeled my thoughts last night, and put them into words so much more succinctly than I. That’s what I love about poetry. Thank you Abby, for your gift of poetry, and for letting me share it here today.

It’s just another rotation
in the Milky Way
but our human construct of time
tells us it is a special day
to see ourselves as new
to leave behind the old
to do better and be better
than last year’s you.
The turn of the clock
and we turn the page,
a new story is written
as we enter the new age,
twenty twenty is the year
and we have another
three hundred sixty six
before the next is here.
Use each day to spread
love, joy, kindness and peace
to everyone you meet.
Care for the earth and all
her creatures great and small
For it is in these deeds that
true happiness will increase!
–Abby Catoe