Dick Clark was there tonight. I assumed he would be. New Year's Eve wouldn't be New Years without Dick Clark.
The Grahams were there. Jeff sat on the end of the sectional beside Beth. Becca was sprawled on the floor and Megan was in the recliner hammering away on her brand-new Blackberry. Caleb was somewhere playing X-Box. He showed up just in time to see the ball drop. Jonah was there, too.
The only one missing was Abby. Having worked yesterday, and needing to be at work tomorrow, she had to stay home.
For the first time in eighteen years our family was not together for New Year's Eve.
I was listening to The Forest Gump Suite on my iPod when that reality hit me.
There are a lot of reasons to look forward to 2010. I have such hope for this year - heightened, I think, by being able to close the book on a brutally difficult chapter in my life. And yet, 2010 will be a year of mixed emotions, I think.
As the ball dropped, I couldn't escape the milestones our family will realize in 2010.
10 . . . my 25th high school reunion. Are you kidding me? 25 years?!
9 . . . Abigail graduates from Grand Ledge High School. She just learned to walk and talk and.
8 . . . In two weeks, I teach my first college class. I am a little terrified, to be honest.
7 . . . My son, Caleb, becomes a high school Senior. By this time next year, Tracy and I will be looking at a second graduation open house and a nest with only one "egg."
6 . . . Our baby becomes a high school Freshman. And joins the "real" Grand Ledge football program.
5 . . . Twenty-three years of marriage to Mrs. Weller. Wow!
4 . . . My daughter moves out of our home and becomes a college Freshman. Un-be-lievable.
3 . . . One last family vacation together? Maybe.
2 . . . A final marching band season with my son on the drum line.
1 . . . Caleb's last Christmas (and we just went through this).
I know. Nobody's dying. I imagine they're all going to be there next year even though they are not "in our home" so to speak. Somehow, though, I imagine it just isn't going to be the same.
By the time the ball came to rest on its sparkling "2010" and the last strains of The Forest Gump Suite had faded I was pretty melancholy. I still am.
And though I expect to smile a lot this year, I suspect that, in 2010, I'll weep more than a handful of tears.