To all of you who stayed awake until midnight to ring in the new year, I have just one thing to say: Suckers!
For the first time since my early childhood, I did not watch the ball drop or see Times Square explode into a confetti firebomb. I did not party until the wee hours.
I did not drink or make poor decisions. I did not light illegal fireworks. I did not count down the last 10 seconds of the year, kiss friends, clink Champagne glasses or sing the single verse to "Auld Lang Syne" that I have memorized. This year, I rang in the new year under the covers, securely in dream land.
It. Was. Awesome.
Why had no one told me the sheer joy of staying home and going to bed early on New Year's Eve? How am I just now learning of this life-changing experience? Not that I would have ever willingly acquiesced to such a crazy notion.
This year, I planned to host the New Year's party. The nursery was set up with playpens for babes to sleep in so their parents could get moderately irresponsible in the next room. The Champagne was chilled; the hors d'oeuvres were bought; the New Year's tiara was sufficiently broken in. Alas, a last-minute bout of flu caused a last-minute cancellation mere hours before friends were intended to show up in their silly hats, kazoos in tow.
By 7 p.m., my baby was in bed — a true indicator that my little man was feeling under the weather, as I rarely can get him in bed before the morning news begins. At 7:15, the husband was knocked out by NyQuil. I was left awake, all alone in my messy home, with no one to celebrate with. I considered cleaning but then decided, screw it. No one was coming over. Whom was I trying to impress? I considered taking a bath until I remembered my razor was lost in one of the still-packed suitcases from the trip I had returned from just two days before. Instead of taking care of what I should have been taking care of, I decided to enjoy my New Year's Eve, to embrace my night in and all facets of the lame factor that comes with being a first-time parent. I put on slippers, broke out the Snuggie and sauntered into the kitchen to pour myself a mugful of Champagne. No need to hand-wash fancy Champagne glasses tonight!
While we were away on vacation, a neighbor had brought over a homemade chocolate pudding pie as a thank-you gift for our helping out when her husband had fallen and couldn't get up. I had intended on serving the pie to our friends at the party. Instead, I served myself. There is little in life more satisfying than gliding your index finger through the thick decadence of chocolate, coating your finger in a mountain of sinful goodness and licking off every last calorie. And that is how I devoured a pie in one evening. Fingers crisscrossing the top layer, making trails that were widened as the night ran on, marking the dessert as my territory. Hey, at least I didn't urinate on the pie to claim it as mine.
After watching some bad television and gaining some impressive points on "Words With Friends," I was ready for bed. It was 8:52 p.m. PST. Just eight minutes to go before I could watch the ball drop in Times Square. I considered staying up, but you know what? It just wasn't worth it.
The best part of a New Year's Eve night in? Not having sleep deprivation to contend with when my toddler woke me up at 5 a.m. Did you know that you can actually get things done on New Year's Day? No, seriously! It's true. I had half of my to-do list crossed off by 9 a.m. It turns out that when you don't party until sunrise and thus sleep until dinner, New Year's Day actually feels like a bit of a vacation. As if it's a national holiday or something. If everyone had gone to bed at a reasonable hour, I bet we could have created world peace by lunch. Or at least toasted to the idea of it.
That's it; I'm embracing my inner J.D. Salinger. Every Dec. 31, lock me away in a cave with mugs of Champagne, Snuggies and chocolate pie. Who needs a ball drop when you can drop your head on a pillow?
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