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 Famili-fying New Year's Eve
 

Celebrating New Year's Eve can be a bit of a challenge for parents. Famili-fying a traditionally adult event isn't always easy.

There are parents who have a special adult-only evening planned with dining, dancing and a toast at midnight. I envy those who have a reservation at a restaurant that doesn't have paper placemats and crayons. But there are some others who have reservations of a different sort, and prefer to spend New Year's Eve at home, or with friends close by rather than venturing too far or too long on the roads. And it is we who will begin the challenging task of baby-proofing the evening for the Baby New Year.

There are some who will be attending First Night celebrations or family-friendly parties at church. Some will host or attend gatherings with friends in which we serve sparkling cider. I know some parents who move their clocks ahead for those little ones who can't make it to the real midnight. (If you hear the banging of pots and pans at 8:00 p.m., you'll now know why.)

Still others will gather around the TV playing board games and waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square. We'll tell our kids that we used to watch Dick Clark just like they are now, and we won't be surprised if their children do the same. We'll laugh--we'll see if we can stuff twelve grapes into our mouths at midnight, and watch endless Best and Worst Lists of 2008. Our children will Google "Auld Lang Syne," and we'll pretend we know all of the words.

The kids will no doubt be figuring out how half the world straddles one year while the other remains in the past. While we adults make resolutions, they will be calculating their new ages, and try to convince us of the math with new entitlements. While they fast forward in anticipation of their upcoming milestones, we will briefly wish for that pause button--slowing down time rather than drinking a toast to it. Because this is the moment when celebrating is markedly different between parent and child. Not in the choice of bubbly to ring in the New Year, but the pace in which we march to it.

Because as parents, celebrating the passage of time is a bittersweet occasion. Watching them grow up so quickly, we don't need pots and pans signaling the passing of the years--we've got fireworks every day.

And so while we parental types welcome in the New Year with all of its hopes and promises, we can't help but mourn just a little for the last one.

Father Time's arrival can be a little tough on a mother. For me, famili-fying New Year's means holding on to mine a little tighter.

©2008 Tracey Henry

Divamail Me!

Yes,yes! We have family-fyed the holiday for many years and now our first will be spending this occasion with friends rather than family for the first time. Treasure these moments with your children and have a very Happy New Year!
Posted by Jen, 12/31/08, 03:16pm
Great Post. It puts things into perspective. Cheers and Happy New Year!
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OK. OK.. I'll give you a link...

Best one in a while, gal. Good work!
Posted by Bill, 12/31/08, 04:07pm
First, I will disagree with Bill, each column is golden. This one was especially touching. Let me defend the practice of setting that clock ahead several hours. My oldest was 14 years old before he figured out what I was doing! We were the idiots on the porch at 9:00PM banging pots and pans shouting Happy New Year into the night. This little deception gave us, a famil-fied New Years and a romantic candlelight dinner for two at midnight. Now I have a house full of teenagers up well passed midnight...and I wouldn't change it for the world, for I too watched as they yelled giggled and hugged and I wondered for how many more years would we be able to enjoy ringing in the New Year with our kids and their friends. Or for that matter how many more years will they want to ring in the New Year with their parents? So hold those little ones tight, and close your eyes and wish them to stay small for just a little longer.
Posted by Sharon, 01/03/09, 09:34pm
Thank you,Burb Diva!
You are right on with the family thing...I never heard of the setting the clock forward..what a great idea! Too late for us now, our oldest is 15 and youngest is 12. Each year we have great friends, originally from Ireland, who come to spend the night and we all play board games until we see the ball drop in Times Square...we have grown out of the pots and pan stage and just enjoy a lot of screaming, yelling and the occasional multi-colored sparklers at midnight. The next morning it is a full Irish breakfast with bangers and mash, fried eggs and multiple sips of chilled Baileys. Each year begins with a sense of tremendous blessings. I, too, wonder how many years we can continue to enjoy the safeness of all three children and their friends gathered in our home. For now, I'll just thank God for this one. SD,Thanks for your column in 2008 and Happy New Year wishes for all the humorous stories you will offer us in the coming new year.
Posted by Peggy, 01/04/09, 03:04am
Though we are now in the early stages of staying in on New Year's, with all of the great sentiments that have been said, I only look forward to the years to come! SD, you manage to grasp the sense of so many thoughts running through my head, and vocalize them so streamline and perfectly! Thanks for 2008, and cheers to 2009!
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