I can’t specifically recall New Year’s Eve when I was, say, 20 years old. Although it is a reasonable guess to say that I probably spent it in a bar with friends. I probably used a fake ID to get into an overly crowded bar and I probably drank too much and I probably danced like an idiot and I probably had a hangover the next day and I probably slept till noon and my mom was probably disappointed in me.
I can’t specifically recall the New Year’s Eve when I was 30, either. Chances are, I was in a bar again. This time, I probably used my real ID and I probably chose a more subdued bar and I probably didn’t dance and I probably still drank too much and I probably cried to my friends about how I was alone and would never get married or have a family.
I’m almost-40 now, and I spent the early part of this New Year’s Eve at my sister’s house. We made homemade pizzas, and our kids played dress-up and Barbies and dolls. It was snowy and cold outside, but her house was warm and happy. We chatted and drank coffee. It was perfect.
We left my sister’s house and came home to ring in the New Year. We celebrated New Year’s Eve in our kitchen at 11:00 P.M. (sshh, don’t tell Maddie) with streamers and cheering and party poppers and noise makers. Just the four of us. I told Maddie about a picture I have of her when she was only 2 months old on New Year’s Eve of 2009. She is laying on a boppy pillow decorated in streamers and a hat. Maddie begged me to see the “old” picture, and I realized for the hundredth time that it’s all so fleeting. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I took that picture? I looked over at Katie, covered from head to toe in confetti and streamers, running around the kitchen. I remembered New Year’s Eve of 2011. My husband I had gotten a babysitter for Maddie, and we had gone to a party at a friend’s house. I remember sitting on a stool in our friend’s basement, hand on my swollen belly full of promise, wondering if those kicks were girl-kicks or boy-kicks. That promise was now running around my kitchen yelling, “Appy New Yoo! Appy New Yoo!”. How did I ever exist without her? After our lively celebration, it was brushing teeth, books, and bedtime.
So when the 2014 New Year officially rang in, I was home, sober as a judge (although slightly over-caffeinated), in my pajamas, and sitting on the couch with my husband, both of us probably thinking about the promise of a new year and a much needed new beginning on the horizon. No hangover, no dancing like an idiot. I was home…surrounded by the family I feared I would never have.
This New Year’s Eve, I was exactly where I was always meant to be.
Happy New Year to you and yours. I hope you were exactly where you were meant to be this New Year’s Eve.