The clock struck midnight as I cradled my newborn son in my arms. He was only 8 days old when the New Year rolled around in 2005.
My husband and I sat in our bed, trying to get our starving son to latch on for a feeding. My baby whimpered and fussed as he struggled to nurse, and, before I knew it, all three of us were crying from exhaustion and frustration.
Images of my childless friends haunted me. I could just visualize them at various celebrations, confetti in their hair and cocktails glasses clinking as they toasted the New Year. My life as an adult was over and the reality of the sacrafices we make as parents suddenly became all too real.
It was a far cry from the New Year's Eve parties I had attended in years past. The ringing in of a new year had always been a favorite holiday for me. I loved to put on a sequinced top and dance the night away with good friends. In an especially ambitious year, my pals and I wrapped an entire apartment in aluminum foil and Christmas lights. All guests were required to dress up as an alien or futuristic party goer. Oh, it was a night to remember.
Those days are over. I am now the proud mother of two children. A current New Year's Eve usually consists of my children sleeping peacefully in their beds while my husband and I try to stay awake late enough to watch the ball drop in Times Square on television.
I so wish that our town still staged First Night Athens. I've heard tales that downtown once offered an alcohol free, family oriented New Year's Eve celebration that included a variety of food, entertainment, and fireworks to ring in the New Year. Where did that celebration go? The parents of Athens need to celebrate too, right?
Now, we usually resort to taking turns dozing off on the couch and waking eachother up until the clock eventually strikes midnight. We smooch a sleepy kiss to celebrate and then promptly turn in for the night.
As my head hits the pillow, I grieve for the New Year's Eve parties of yesteryear. Where the music was loud and the champagne was flowing. Where the year to come was seen through a fog of confetti and streamers.
Honestly though, as I drift off to sleep in my quiet house, full of love, I know that I would trade every crazy night to be at home. Safe and sound with the ones I hold so dear to my heart. Each of us alseep in our beds and dreaming of all the good fortune we hope will come our way in the new year.
I've traded champagne flutes for sippy cups and I couldn't be happier.
Did becoming a parent change the way that you celebrate New Year's Eve? How will you spend New Year's Eve this year? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.