It had been a long time since I had seen midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Sure, my girlfriends and I still reminisce about the New Year’s Eve celebration we had in Manhattan 21 years ago (!!!), complete with a fantastic hotel suite, an 11pm attempt to watch the ball drop in person (13 blocks too far to see anything but the revelers), and so many laughs.
An epic party with local and out-of-town friends, pre-kids, obviously involved a cutout of Fabio, absinthe (only briefly setting our coffee table on fire), beer pong and general merriment.
Then we had kids. We stopped making it to midnight.
A few years back, we learned about the New Year’s countdowns on Netflix. Around 7pm, we picked one, counted down together, wished each other a Happy New Year, and then tucked the kids in bed, pretty close to or at their normal bedtimes. Win-win!
But, kids grow. My son learned to read a clock. He understood that the New Year did not start at his bedtime.
Last year, one of his school friends invited our family to a NYE party. It started at 5pm but went all night, and people could come whenever and stay as long as they wanted. We showed up on the early side, of course. The kids had a blast, running around with the other kids, eating lots of party food. My daughter cried and my son complained when we left only a few hours later, as other kids would celebrate at midnight.
A few weeks back, my son asked if he was going to get to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Day this year. After we explained that the midnight partying occurs the night before, we told him that we did not expect to see the ball drop.
But there was something magical about this school vacation. There was close family from California on the East Coast. A new niece who showed up almost three weeks early. Fantastic holiday celebrations. Adorable two year old nephews and a one year old niece. Special playdates galore. The kids are bigger now, and able to do more, often with better attitudes. It was one of those rare times when each day was special in its own, different way.
For the past few years, one of my lifelong best friends has hosted a small New Year’s party and has invited us to come and stay over. Well, this year, to everyone’s surprise, we took her up on the offer. The kids were over the moon, as they love my friend and her 8 and 11 year old boys, and, living an hour away with sports and other activities, we cannot see them enough.
We arrived in the afternoon, to maximize our time together. There was lots of video game playing, even some for my daughter:
Every party needs decorations:
Then, some friends arrived. The kids ran down to the basement but would reappear from time to time, to eat treats, visit, or even “scare” the grownups.
We rallied around the television to watch the ball drop. The kids would have loved to have kept going, but it was late, especially for my crew. We ultimately ushered everyone to bed, and briefly continued the playdate starting pretty early the next morning.
Truly magical. It is going to be a great year!!!