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Happy New Year, Baby!

Becoming a parent changes everything but mostly New Years Eve.

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.

Leigh Hewett December 29, 2011 at 02:33 PM
It's a little scary when you can start relating to your parents, huh?
Leigh Hewett December 29, 2011 at 02:34 PM
That sounds like fun!
Scarlet Buckley December 30, 2011 at 02:26 AM
yes, it's all different once you have little ones to think about. Now that my baby girl is 2 and a half, I feel like it's time to make it a special night. I'm not sure what we are going to do, but after reading the posts that mentioned teenagers, I am going to be so grateful that my little ones will be enjoying their time with grammy, and I can party without worrying about their safety.
Erin Lashley December 30, 2011 at 03:20 AM
This New Year's Eve I will be in bed by 10 so I can get up before dawn next day, bake a casserole for first Sunday fellowship breakfast, and lead all the hymns at both the 8:30 and 11:30 worship services at church. If you had told me ten years ago I'd be doing anything on any Sunday morning, especially a New Year's Day Sunday morning, other than trying to take enough Advil to get over Saturday night, I'd have had a good old laugh. I mean, I still like to go out occasionally, but dang if it's not really all that important anymore. I thank my son for making me grow up.
Caroline U December 31, 2011 at 03:25 AM
So true! I like how the Venezuelan's celebrate (my husband is from Venezuela so I am biased) Everyone is loud and dancing (including infants and children). It's a family affair and the children stay up late and run around the house of whoever is having the party while the parents eat and dance and hug and cheer. Then when the clock strikes 12 they hand out 12 grapes and you eat them all and make wishes for the new year! But, since all our Venezuelan family is in--well--Venezuela--we normally watch the ball drop on TV while the kids fall asleep around 9pm and we shortly after midnight! :))

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