For a few years, we tried to start a little New Year's Eve tradition in which each member of our family wrote down our predictions for the others during the coming year, and then shared the predictions from the previous year to see the ways in which Ms. Fate had surprised us, and the ways in which we somehow managed to get the scoop on her. It was fun, but also a bit disconcerting when things turned out exactly the way you were afraid they might. 

At any rate, after a few years we gave it up. Perhaps we figured out that, no matter what, you're going to get surprised, so you may as well pour a little courage into your Happy New Year toasting glass and drink up. And then get ready for the first thing to come around the corner or jump out of a closet unexpectedly and yell "GOTCHA!"

On the news last night they were showing a "Top Stories of the Year" feature and I wondered aloud how the stories from our family's past year might be sorted according to "top story" status. Would the honors go to the brother-in-law who passed away pre-50 and so unexpectedly? My own dance with cancer that came out of nowhere, leaving a trail of unanswered medical questions in its wake? The altogether sudden appearance of a third strapping young man at our Christmas celebration, bringing hints that he may intend to throw an additional (we already have one on the calendar) wedding into the 2014 mix? Or Russ taking a job in...gulp...Panama?!

I can't answer yet, because each event dropped into the pond continues sending its ripples into our future. Even when the initial shock fades, the forward path retains its new twist. I'm sure 2014 will bring more of the unthinkable. Which means it's pointless to think about that now. Better to reflect on all the ways life remains remarkable and so utterly worthwhile, no matter where it takes us. 

So bring on a large Diet Coke, please, with a hefty shot of whatever else you have on hand that might help...and on we go. Happy New Year! Yes, again.