Ringing in the New Year

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Remember when New Year’s Eve was about getting dressed up, going out, and drinking yourself into an oblivion?  Sure that this would be the year you’d meet someone?  Yeah, me, neither.  Which I guess is the whole point, right?

This year, Justin and I tried a new approach to New Year’s Eve, a night I usually dread because of the unrealistic expectations we put on it.  We did New Year’s Eve family style.  When we were home earlier in December, our good friend Jen mentioned that they were having a kid-friendly New Year’s party.  I told her (only half joking) that I would only come if I could be in my pajamas.  And so it was born: the family-friendly, pajama-wearing New Year’s Eve.  No pressure to look fabulous (Jen probably would have kicked you out anyway).    No concern about compensating a babysitter enough for taking up her entire New Year’s Eve.  No being gauged by restaurants and their “special” menus.

The kids (and occasionally my husband) were exiled to the basement.  The adults made pizza, picked at food, and drank.  Robbie came running up the steps occasionally, just to say, “Happy, Mom!  Fun kids!” and dash back down into the fray.  After all, he’d been talking about this all day.  Every hour or so, Robbie would say, “Mom, I’m ready.  Party with kids.  Pizza and cake.  Let’s go, Mom!”  Or, “I need a party hat, Mom.”  You know, the usual pre-party concerns.

And boy, did he have fun!  Robbie was still going at 10:00.  At 11:00 he looked a little worse for the wear, dragging himself, crying, up the stairs.  He crawled to me, asked me to kiss his boo boos (I’m sure his whole body hurt from fatigue; it’s tough trying to keep up with three four year olds, a few six year olds, and a ten year old).  Then he’d slide off my lap and return to “the kids.”

Near midnight, the kids all came upstairs to get their fun drinks (Sprite) in champagne flutes.  Robbie, with five minutes left in the old year, toasted everyone around him and stumbled around the room from sheer exhaustion.  But then, as the countdown started, Robbie stood next to me, pure elation on his face as he joined in the screaming, no idea of what he was saying.  But, somehow, he got it.  At midnight, my little boy jumped up and down, screaming, “Happy New Year!”

There’s nowhere else

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