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New Year Without Dad

new year without dad tijerina blog

As a kid, I remember bringing in the new year with my mom and brother.

new year without dad

We watched the ball drop on our huge TV – not a big screen TV, but a huge 1990’s TV that had a pair of pliers attached to the channel changer switch. We had some snacks and played charades, cards, and board games to bring in the new year. It was always so much fun!

I remember thinking every year, “This is it! This will be the year my dad comes home.”

visiting room food tyro 365 blogWe would go see my dad and have our own little new year celebration. We’d all say the words I was thinking, “This is the year dad’s coming home.” We would have vending machine food as our meal and candy bars as desert. We would borrow a chess board or checkers, play games, and talk about what we wanted to accomplish next year. The thing we all wanted more than anything was for dad to be home.

Eventually, as I grew older and more years passed without my dream of “This will be the year” being fulfilled, I lost hope in having hope. All hope seemed to do was leave me more heart-broken than the previous year (read “Christmas Without Daddy“).

As my brother and I grew older, we started having New Year’s Eve parties.

spend new year with a loved one in prison tyro 365 blogWe would always have a blast! I was done hoping for something that seemed like it was never going to happen. I began thinking more “realistically” and losing faith that I would have my dad home to celebrate New Year’s Eve with.

When I was 13, my dad came home after spending 11½ years in prison, and we finally got to spend our first New Year’s Eve together at home. It was incredible! It was like we were truly free to be happy and not feel any guilt that we were celebrating while my dad was in a prison cell. We had other families over, played games, watched TV, and ate REAL snacks and deserts. It truly was a dream come true.

But 6 months after that, my dad walked back into prison because the court of appeals overturned his release, stating the judge that released my dad wasn’t allowed to make that decision. (You can watch the full story HERE.)

After another 4½ years of waiting, my dad was released again.

Since then, we have had some unbelievable New Year’s Eve parties together. Now I have two baby girls that go to bed at 9pm. So, for this New Year’s Eve, my family stayed home, watched Disney’s movie “Enchanted”. Took a dance break, and watched a countdown on Netflix before the girls went to bed.

After the girls went to bed, my wife and I made a ridiculous amount of fried food. We watched the ball drop, and played Sega Genesis games. It was the perfect ending of 2017.


Leave a comment and let me know how you and your family celebrated bringing in the new year.