New Year’s Eve is one of those notoriously overrated holidays. Even though you know this, at the back of your media-led mind you consider dressing up in a black sequined shirt, red lipstick, and thigh-high boots that cost too much even from the sale rack. You, for one half a second, ponder paying a disgusting surcharge cover in order to enter an already overpriced restaurant and order off of their special occasion menu. You picture yourself guzzling back champagne with a roomful of similarly decked-out strangers, singing Prince’s “Party Like it’s 1999″ off-key, and obligatorily kissing your partner at the stroke of midnight, giggling as streamers and confetti tangle into the hairspray that you borrowed from your neighbor’s teenage daughter.
And then you blink, shake your head, and wake up. You realize that this is not your life. No chance, no how, not since life before kids.
When you have kids, babysitters on New Year’s Eve, even if available, are quadruple the normal astronomical rates. When you have kids, thigh high boots just seem, well, impractical. And when you have kids, staying up till midnight (especially with them) sounds like a torture worse than hairspray.
So, luckily, our good friends invited us over for a New Year’s get-together. Six kids played happily, noisily together without parent intervention needed. That’s a holiday. The kids ate hot dogs while the adults gobbled down steak and salad and good cheese and even better bottles of red wine. We all enjoyed the firework display shot off by one of our friends from the golf course behind the house, and the kids shrieked over the sparklers that they wrote their names with in the night sky.
Once they started to tire, we plopped all of the kids on the couch with old-time episodes of “Scooby Doo” and we adults ventured outside. We listened to The Cure, drank more red wine, and discussed family vacation ideas. We ladies even planned a dream girls’ night out.
Party pooper that I am, I was ready to go home before ten. I left sated. Good food, good wine, good friends, good fun. It was one of my best New Year’s ever.
And those New Year’s Eves of my past? I never really like Prince songs anyway, champagne makes my stomach hurt, and kissing your honey at eleven under the warmth of your own covers can beat confetti and sequined midnight any day.
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