A COVID-19 New Year’s Eve

The whole year of 2020 was surely one to remember. It became normal (and mandatory in most places) to have to wear a mask in public, to follow arrows in stores and other public places as a reminder to stay 6 feet away from others, and for there to be hand sanitizing stations at every corner of any establishment. So it was already a known fact that all family gatherings and holidays would be severely altered as well. I was especially expecting these adjustments postpartum because of my newborn daughter. But to go from an 80+ people New Year’s Eve Party to an 8-people New Year’s Party was definitely an unforgettable experience and one I can’t wait to tell Avery about when she is old enough to understand.

The family members that Cesar and I have felt most comfortable having around Avery since she was born have been his parents, my mom, his brothers and sister-in-law, my cousin, her husband and kids, and my aunt. So those are exactly the people we got together with on Christmas. We went to church for the Christmas Eve service as usual and then went to prepare food for the Christmas Eve dinner we usually have as a family. It usually is never a giant group of people for Christmas anyway, so it did not feel like anything had changed this year expect for the newest addition to our family joining us in celebration of course!

Christmas Eve Service 2020 at Second Baptist Church Houston, TX.
Avery Christmas Eve 2020
Christmas Eve 2020 at mom’s house.
Left to right: Brandown Salazar carrying Liam Salazar, Christine Salazar carrying Giselle Salazar, Abby, and Cesar carrying Avery.

So every year for as long as I can remember, I have spent New Year’s Eve at my aunt Esperanza’s house. She and her husband always throw this huge party complete with NYE party gear such as hats, tiaras, noisemakers, and more. They have tons of food and their house is very party friendly. What I mean by that is the fact that there are several different rooms of the house that each accommodate to a different type of party-goer. The kitchen is of course filled with food and alcohol, but it also has a table that always hosts the most interesting conversations. The living room is decorated with all types of NYE banners areas specifically for pictures. This room is for your typical Hispanic dancer and has karaoke for the singers. Then, there is the garage equipped with a dart board and a pool table. The garage is usually open leading out to the front of their house’s cul-de-sac usually full of men and boys popping fireworks. Circle around the house and you have the backyard full of the teenagers and 20-year-olds playing games. These parties almost always hosted 40-80 people every year (my aunt is proud to say the biggest one they have ever hosted was filled with 88 people all over different areas of the house!), and everyone always had fun.

NYE 2014 Cousins in the garage. Left to right: Abby, Metzli, and Christine.
NYE 2016 Cousins in the living room before the party started. Left to right: Christine, Abby, and Metzli.
NYE 2017 Full living room dancing cumbia.
NYE 2019 photo prop. Left to right: Abby, Veronica Gonzales (Mom), and Cesar.

Of course this year’s party was still fun, but a significant decrease in the amount of people. This year there were less dancing and less singing because the only three people participating in the musical activities were my aunt, Christine, and I. Then a couple of us played board games. And of course, we always do the “go around the circle and say what you are thankful for” the ten minutes before midnight. It was a year where almost everyone said they were thankful for their health and financial security.

NYE 2020 Left to right: Christine, Giselle, Liam, and Abby.

Then, at midnight Cesar and I’s first kiss was our sweet baby Avery! The countdown from 10 into the new year made me a bit emotional because I couldn’t believe that the prior year there were only two of us and I wasn’t officially a Sique yet. Now, there are three of us and we’re all official Siques! Not only that, but we’re coming into the new year for the first time as parents with a whole host of responsibilities what with caring for a tiny human being we created and a whole new love we’ve begun to nurture. I know I speak for both my husband and I when I say that our first kiss of the year was oh so special!

As new parents, we decided not to drag this year on into the early 5am-6am hours as usual, but instead left my aunt’s house around 2am. We thought it was best to put Avery down in her crib and try to get at least 2-3 hours ourselves. This first day of the year we decided to be productive! We cleaned out the fridge, cleaned our daughter’s room, finished up our laundry, and decided to end the day going for a walk at a park I’d been wanting to explore. Since it was pretty cold in Houston that day, we decided it was also best to start exercising outside with Avery in preparation for a cold weather destination we’re traveling to in February.

Walking at Paul Rushing Park in Katy, TX (https://www.pct3.com/Parks/Paul-D-Rushing-Park)
Paul Rushing Park sunset on the bridge.
Paul Rushing Park sunset on the paved path.

Needless to say, last year’s end and this year’s beginning was quite different from what we usually experience in more ways than one. We are grateful for all the blessings we’ve had the past 12 months and are looking forward to what this year holds for us. We know that we are better equipped to overcome any obstacles coming our way and we welcome any challenges with our newly acquired parental superpowers (ha!) that come with the loss of sleep and erratic eating schedules.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and see you next week!

-The Siques

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