Wide Awake in the New Year - Better with Age #24

Posted by Jessica Hegg on


I know it's a little ridiculous, especially at my age, but I still make resolutions every New Year's Eve.  I can't help it; it's a tradition that I've been keeping for over four decades, and I remain loyal to it, even though I know there's little chance I'll even remember what my resolutions are when February hits.  But that's okay; maybe it is a bit of self-deception to start the year off with, but it still puts a little bounce in my step to imagine the things that "could be" in 2017.

Of course, my resolutions have changed quite a bit as I've gotten older.  They're no longer so ambitious.  Used to be, on January 1st, I'd start making pledges about learning foreign languages, or running in mini-marathons, or finishing up that novel that I've been plotting for twenty years.  Nowadays, my resolutions run more along the lines of, "I promise not to fall asleep with my mouth open in public in 2017."  Which is actually a pretty bold goal for me, for I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat.

It's a resolution that would plea my grandson immensely, for he has a Winter Concert coming up at his Middle School and I've been known to embarrass the family by snoring loudly at just about every school-related performance.

I never intend to drop off like a bear in hibernation at these events, I swear, but something about the starting time--always in the late afternoon on a weekend--makes it just about impossible to keep my eyes open.  It's my nap time.  The room is always super warm, and those gentle kid voices and choral arrangements just lull me into slumber.  My wife always tries to keep me awake, poking me when she can sense that I'm getting too comfortable, but even her vigilance will slip for a second or two, and before you know it, I'm making those ungodly, growling noises that sound like a large wolverine trapped inside a closet.  More than once I've woken up to the sounds of hysterical laughter from other concert-goers sitting around me, and when I come to I can see the defeated, embarrassed looks from my wife and daughter.  I've never stopped a performance cold--at least I don't think so--but I know I've become a humorous footnote to dozens of parents and grandparents in attendance.

And of course I'm not gonna blame the concerts themselves, for I know it's all due to the fact that I could fall asleep on a roller coaster, but I sometimes wish the events weren't quite so long.  The last kids' concert I went to stretched on for nearly three hours, longer than some operas I've been to and nearly as long as "The Godfather, Part II."  (Which I also slept through.) But I know that every kid in the school has to have their moment to shine, onstage, and so a long running time is just about inevitable.

And it's funny, I don't think any of my kids or grandkids has ever seen me or any of the family in the audience during any of the performances we've attended over the years--the crowds are always so big, and the theaters so large that we never make eye contact,  no matter how furiously we wave during the show.  But that's okay.  We'll always go backstage when it's over, so our presence will eventually be acknowledged, and we'll gush about how good our kids are, even if we had a hard time picking them out. 

I have to admit that I've entertained the notion of not showing up sometimes--they'll never see us anyway, I've reasoned, nobody will know--but I've never been brave enough to actually go through with it.  My wife would kill me, for one, but I've also learned that one of the key things in life is this: You gotta show up.  Somebody said that once, somebody famous, that half of life's success is just showing up, and it's true.  Even if you're not sure if it matters, it probably does.  Especially if there are kids involved.  And so I've gotten quite good at showing up.  Now if only I could stay awake, I'm sure I could become a raging success.

Until next time,

Christoff's Dad

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