I hate a love/hate relationship with New Year’s Eve.
I love it as a chance to start over. A clean slate. An opportunity to start eating healthier, exercising, and… well, who am I kidding, that lasts about a week. I love reflecting on the past, leaving it behind, and looking to the future.
I hate it, though, because the event itself has, on many occasions, let me down. I have never been to Times Square. I have never had to pick confetti out of my hair. I have never gotten dressed up and gone to a gala or a ball. As I write this, my best friend is wearing a gold dress and dancing the night away at her sister-in-law’s New Year’s Eve wedding extravaganza. I must admit, I am a little jealous.
I am currently sitting on my couch in my pajamas watching SVU on my DVR while both kids sleep and my husband is snoozing on the couch in the other room. As he said to Monkey before bed, “This is the holiday where your mother wakes me up 10 minutes before midnight to watch the ball drop. Then I kiss her and go back to sleep.” Yep. That about sums it up.
My expectations for this night have always been too high. I expect pomp and circumstance and rarely get it. Now, not every year has been miserable. I have been to fun parties with friends and family and I have very fond memories of those nights. But life as a parent of two little ones (who don’t sleep well enough to be left with a babysitter) make the celebration, well, different.
Today was just another day. Nothing special really happened. We played, we ate, we ran some errands. As the evening approached I realized that it was New Year’s Eve and we had no plans. We weren’t getting dressed up. We weren’t going out. We didn’t even have champagne in the house. Something had to change. Something had to make this day unique.
I had nothing for dinner so I decided to order fat cats* from the “Grease Truck” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grease_Trucks) turned restaurant over at Rutgers University. I asked my husband to light a fire in the fireplace. We sat down in front of the fire and ate our fat cats picnic style while Bear tried to blow out the flames.
After dinner, Monkey ran into the kitchen and raided the snack drawer. He came back elated. “We have marshmallows! We have marshmallows!” And so we did. A few sticks later, marshmallows were toasting. Once are bellies were overly full, what better thing to do than have a dance party!
Although we were already having fun, it was time to get even sillier. I ran into the bathroom and grabbed a new bag of cotton balls. I snuck some into Monkey’s hand, whispered into his ear, then ambushed Papa and Bear with “snowballs.” We had a huge snowball fight and lots of giggles.
Not a party without hats or crudité, you say? Well, Monkey ended up taking his pants off and wearing them on his head. I’ve been to parties before where that exact thing happened. So yep, definitely a party! Finally, the kids took a bath and went to sleep. Of course, I am curious as to which one of them will wake up at 11:58 pm.
So, although I’m in flannel pants and a t-shirt and not an evening gown, although everyone around me is sleeping right now and I’m alone with my television and my thoughts, although there is no champagne in my house, and although I just pulled a piece of macaroni out of my hair rather than confetti, I am content. I was content last year when my New Year’s Eve was spent sampling fancy cheeses in my living room with my husband and I am content this year after having had a fat cat picnic with a dance party and snowball fight.
Once again, my expectations were high – different, but high. I wanted this day to be special. I wanted to remember New Years Eve 2012. More importantly, I wanted my kids (Monkey at least) to remember New Years Eve 2012. Without a plan, without pomp, without circumstance, I believe we accomplished that goal. As I kissed Monkey goodnight, he said, “Mama? That was a really fun picnic. And Papa and I got to warm up in front of the fire after my bath. And, can we have another snowball fight tomorrow morning?” Yes, yes we can.
At 11:50 pm, I’ll be waking my husband up to ring in the New Year with me. And perhaps we will even crack open the bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling cider I found in the basement when I went to put the laundry in the dryer a few minutes ago.
From my family to yours, have a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year filled with laughter, love, and silliness.
*A fat cat, for those of you who don’t know, is a disgustingly delicious sandwich that I will not be able to eat starting tomorrow when I start my diet… again. It’s a large roll with 2 cheeseburgers, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, mayonnaise, and French fries all on the same bun. You feel so bloated and ill after eating it, but you just. can’t. stop. Check out all of the “Fat” sandwiches here: http://www.grubhub.com/nyc/jimmys-grill-new-brunswick/?showSmallSearchWidget=Y