I’d love to report to you what a fantastic time I had on New Year’s Eve. But I can’t. This New Year’s Eve I went to bed at nine p.m. and was fast asleep by eleven p.m. watching Tropic Thunder courtesy of Netflix since my husband and I can’t even leave the house to browse Blockbusters these days. It makes me wonder, you know like in an Auld Lang Syne kind of way, what I used to do for New Year’s Eve. I believe there was a time in the distant past, before I had children when I would most certainly drink until I was well over the legal limit, bust out some streamers and more than likely furtively grope a complete stranger. I know for a fact there were skimpy outfits involved.
The first year my husband and I were dating, I insisted that we ring in the New Year with a bang (so to speak) despite the fact that I was in bed with a 102 degree fever suffering from the worst flu of my life. At that point, it was still important to make every New Year’s one to remember. Once I got used to being part of a couple I didn’t care if every other holiday went by the wayside: Christmas lost some of its festive spirit – let’s face it, it had mostly been about the office parties anyway, Valentine’s Day took on less and less significance –who cared about flowers or chocolate when you already knew your mate loved you? –even birthdays came and went without much fanfare. But New Year’s Eve still represented something worth celebrating: Hope for the upcoming year, an excuse to drink insanely expensive champagne, and hanging out with close friends. It’s a holiday devoid of family obligations. Unlike Thanksgiving, there are no sit down dinners that start at the unreasonable hour of three p.m., required small talk with distant aunts and uncles or faking enthusiasm for green bean casseroles – New Year’s Eve is all about fun.
The first year New Year’s Eve started to suck was the first year I had a baby. Elby was born in November so she wasn’t even two months old when we rang in 2005. There just isn’t a ton of fun to be had with a baby who still isn’t sleeping through the night. If memory serves me correctly we were up to see the ball drop not because we wanted to be but because Elby was still feeding every couple of hours. But, hey, she was just a baby, I had to cut her some slack for ruining my favorite holiday –she didn’t know any better yet. The following year, she was one and that’s when I found out that New Year’s Eve is the black hole of babysitter opportunities. It’s tougher to get a babysitter on Dec. 31st than it is to get into Yale so we did the next best thing: we invited our friends to come over to our house and then proceeded to say “Shhh…the baby’s sleeping!” “Don’t wake the baby!” “Uh oh, did you hear the baby?” Needless to say they split before midnight.
The next year when Elby was two, Jon and I decided to be a little more daring and sleep over at another couple’s house with a child Elby’s age. The plan was to get the kids to sleep and then have a rockin’ New Year’s Eve with fancy cocktails, poker and even a hot tub. Everything kinda sorta went as intended until we woke up at three a.m. to our toddler’s screaming from her Pack n’ Play next to our bed. She was absolutely inconsolable despite our attempts to rationalize with her. “Mommy and Daddy are working on bad hangovers, honey. We had too much champagne mixed with pomegranate margaritas –which sound great in theory but in actuality they are a headache waiting to happen and now it’s happened.” No matter what we tried we couldn’t get her calm and finally we admitted defeat, and slipped out of the house losing any opportunity for New Year’s Day pancakes or sleep of any kind.
Cut to last year, I’d just had TWINS. They literally both come home from the NICU only days before so I couldn’t tell you my name around that time let alone have a plan for New Year’s. Which brings us up to the New Year’s Eve that just past. The night that bridged 2008 to 2009 went by with barely a fizzle let alone a bang. If I’m honest with myself I may be done with New Year’s Eve for a few years. I have too much back fat to look cute in a little black dress anyway, my alcohol tolerance is down to nil and with three kids I can’t afford a hangover. But, it’s really okay because you know what? Child-free people can have their sobriety check points, overcrowded bars, overpriced special restaurant menus and certain hangovers. Now that I have three kids, I’ve got something more important back: Halloween! See you October 31st suckers!