It's a new day. It's a new year. Really it's a new life or will be soon for me. I could be all dark and dreary about how awful 2011 was for me. Or, I could sit and try to pull out any strands of silver to line that cloud. Or I could just tell you how I spent my New Year's Eve and maybe you can tell me how you spent yours.
But first I will begin by telling you the traditional New Year's Eve. Tradition had lots of people coming to our house, kids in tow, overnight bags in hand. We would laugh and drink, half watch the random NYE special on the big screen. Little ones would run around and play like mad - even they could feel the excitement in the air.
At 9 pm, we'd call up friends and family on the East Coast and do teleshots. (Teleshots, in case you're wondering, are where we're all on speaker phone toasting and drinking a shot of whatever our favorite flavor happens to be.) We would munch on the table full of treats, some homemade, some bought. We would crack more beers, open more wine and have a few more toasts.
At some point we'd gather the little ones in the master bedroom. We'd setup the bean bag chairs and sleeping bags and pop a movie in the TV. Little little ones would be put to bed in one of the front bedrooms and the rest would be allowed to stay up til midnight for the celebration, as long as they behaved.
Shortly before midnight I'd scramble to find enough champagne glasses, and there never were enough. Corks would pop and glasses filled. Even the little ones had their sparkling apple cider. When the clock struck midnight, "Happy New Years!" would be shouted, hugs and kisses making the rounds, adults and children alike. Glasses would clink as we would drink our sips of spirits. Music would blast and we'd all get our boogie on, at least for a few songs.
At some point soon thereafter most of the kids would be put to rest. The hot tub would be fired up, if not already, and the night would continue on. I remember several years of being up til 4 am. But eventually we'd all crash.
The morning would start with someone staggering to the coffee maker and getting a pot on. People would trickle out of their sleep and join those of us already awake gathered around the center island in the kitchen. The guys would make their way to the living room in front of the big screen and put some movie on - usually one of the Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. Sometimes a game of Risk would be played instead. The girls would tend to the kids, making them breakfast as we'd clutch our coffee. The hot tub would be fired up again and perhaps a mimosa, bloody mary or two would be consumed. Somewhere around whenever, people would eventually make their way out the door, invariably leaving something behind. And the clean up would begin.
These memories are golden. I cannot think about them without a feeling of warmth and smile upon my face. For me, there could not have been a better way to ring in the new year. Until this year. This year I did something totally different. Many people thought I was crazy but it just seemed like the right thing for me.
This year I farmed out the kids to their friends' houses. The going-to-be-ex left on Thursday and went up to Tahoe for the weekend. And I stayed home alone.
In the afternoon I watched three movies. None were particularly good and, in fact, I dozed off during one of them. Later on, I opened up my laptop and chatted online with some friends. Feeling slightly cheery I pulled out a bottle of champagne I found tucked in the back of the garage fridge. I simultaneously sipped and chatted, watched movies and then read. I think I was asleep before 11:00 pm. Definitely not the traditional NYE but it was pretty much perfect and exactly what I needed.
To all of my friends near and far, Happy New Year!
What did you do for NYE? Was it your norm? Was it better or worse? Do you have traditions that you could imagine skipping?