On one particularly rainy day, I gave both my children wind up flash lights and told them to get them charged on the way home in case the power went out.
My 12-year-old wound his diligently, timing the 10 minutes required to give it a maximum charge and spinning it a few more rounds for good measure.
My 5-year-old, fascinated by the process, wound hers just long enough to turn it on, then proceeded to shine light all over the car. In one wide sweep across the dashboard, she illuminated a gecko, sending me into a fit of hysterical screaming that didn't end until our driveway was in view.
We were parked and out of the car before I could compose myself enough to explain to my wide-eyed kids what had happened. By that point, there was nothing for any of us to do but laugh.
It was so 2008. Shock, irrational fear and rueful laughter have defined the latter part of the year. In those few minutes, I think I let loose every earsplitting shriek I'd been suppressing for the past few months.
And then I moved on.
What else can you do in a year when it seems like the boogie man is lurking around every corner and making occasional appearances to wreak havoc on someone's life and keep everyone else on their toes?
(I know, "It's the economy, stupid.)
At the end of the year, it comes down to this: I've had to say one goodbye too many.
Despite all the doom and gloom in the industry, I'm energized by all the changes in the media and hopeful that good journalism will remain relevant, no matter that the medium of delivery.
This might be newspapers' last stand, but an important takeaway lesson from the 2008 presidential election is that the public still has a voracious appetite for news and it's up to the mainstream media to figure out how to deliver the news people want in whatever way they want to receive it.
Judging from the Twitter and text updates flying through cyberspace during last week's hours-long blackout, there's still a high demand for fast, credible information.
But while my outer child is happy playing with new technology, my inner child is stuck back in the day when new technology was represented by the teletype that produced such an incessant racket that the sound permeates the soundtrack to my earliest memories of home.
As much as I love fancy gadgets and software, I have to wonder how they can possibly replace the institutional memory and experience of the respected colleagues trading in their press passes for other pursuits.
I guess we'll find out in 2009.