Posted by Kirsten Patel, Elementary Mommie-on-the-Run | Posted in The Elementary Mommy-on-the-Run | Posted on 31-12-2011
Celebrating New Year’s Eve can be a bit of a challenge for parents. Family-fying a traditionally adult event isn’t always easy.
There are parents who have special adult-only evenings 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 kid=proofing the evening for the Baby New Year.
Some will host or attend gatherings with friends in which we serve sparkling cider. I know of 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 9pm, you’ll know why. Still others will gather around the TV playing board games and waiting for the ball to drop in Time 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, have a family dance party to Pit Bull, eat dad’s famous burgers, watch endless Best and Worst Lists of 2011. 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 rough on a mother. For me, family-fying New Year’s means holding on to mine a little tighter.