Outside, a rare blue moon, the second full moon in December, lit up the night sky with the kind of clarity most folks wish they could have upon entering a new year. Inside, we watched Ryan Seacrest, sporting a Jimmy Neutron hair-do, and Dick Clark, impersonating a malfunctioning, automated wax figure, count down to the ball dropping in Times Square.
My husband leaned over and confidentially asked, "What's your New Year's resolution?"
"You know what my resolution is," I insisted. "I'm going to embrace the routine."
"Oh, yeah," he said. "I forgot. You're doing nothing."
"I guess you could call it that," I replied.
At the turn of the clock, we kissed and raised a champagne toast to us and 2010 -- May we not fall sucker to any once-in-a-blue-moon opportunities such as buying a shrimp farm in landlocked Mitchell, Ga., from a guy allegedly in the FBI Witness Protection Program, or anything like that.
Then my husband, moved by the moment, sentimental about the passing of another year and another decade, hugged me and looked into my eyes and whispered, "You're just as beautiful now as you were when I first met you, even after all these years."
His words stunned me. Although I tried to hide it, my face betrayed my inner thoughts.
"What?" he asked, his confidence rocked a little.
"Nothing. You're so sweet. It just wasn't what I expected to hear you say."
"Oh," he mumbled, dejected.
Feeling like a heel, I tried to explain myself. "That's a birthday speech is all. You know, a way to reassure me that I haven't aged a bit. New Year's isn't really a time that a person thinks so much about aging; at least not me, not on January 1st. I worry about that on November 5th."
He stepped away and then stepped back into the hug again. A dramatic, memorable, turn-of-the-decade moment takes some thought and some effort.
He got down on one knee and took my hand. Gazing up, he promised, "I would do it all over again." His sincerity was undeniable, but the remark didn't hit my soft spot. I'm not heartless or cold, but I do have standards.
"What?" he gasped at me, seeing my furtive glance sideways. "That's not right either?"
"No. It's not that it's not right. It's only that it would be more appropriate on January 16th." As I heard the words coming out of my mouth, I realized how lucky I am to have a husband who would do it all again, because, based on how we were starting 2010, I must be incredibly difficult to live with.
"Why?" he asked. "What happens on January 16th?"
"Our anniversary," I pointedly answered, my guilt instantly vaporized. "You told me an anniversary line."
Exasperated, he threw his hands in the air. I could tell he couldn't think of anything to say to mark the transition to the new year. The situation begged for the same bright clarity as that taunting blue moon outside. In a last ditch toast, he extended his glass and blithely quoted, "Stay the course."
I nodded my once-in-a-blue-moon approval. "Yep, that's what I said. Stick with the routine. That's my plan. Do nothing."
(Lucy Adams, a syndicated columnist, freelance writer, and author, lives in Thomson. E-mail Lucy at email@example.com.)