New Year’s not about parties

By Anita Doberman: Lifestyles Columnist

There is a lot of pressure to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

When I lived in New York City, I went to parties and made it to Times Square to see the ball drop. It was cold and my toes were frozen by the time I left. I’m not even sure I technically had fun, but with all the noise and confetti, it sure seemed like it.
New Year’s Eve was always full of great memories. In fact, my best New Year’s was the first one with my husband. We had only recently met, both of us visiting mutual friends in England, and celebrated all together on London Bridge. It was romantic and unique and will remain one of my most precious memories.

Five children and several military moves later our New Year’s Eve is now different. Four of my five children were born in November and December. This means that I am usually recovering from a C-section (all my children were born Caesarean) and caring for a newborn. Not exactly a recipe for dancing.

After the birth of our first child, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the baby and was exhausted by my new role as mom, so we stayed in. That wasn’t the first time we realized that our lives had completely changed and we were “parents,” but it was one of the most striking. The one night of the year when having fun is mandatory, when all our single friends were trying to decide which party to go to, we were at home learning to take care of a newborn.

That New Year’s Eve, I went to bed at 8:30 p.m. and didn’t wake up until it was time to feed the baby again, oblivious to the biggest celebration of the year. My husband shot video of himself counting down to New Year’s with the sleeping baby. Then he came to bed.

After the birth of my second child, I was also too tired – not to mention the logistics of arranging baby sitters. The same happened with all of our other children. We were too tired, and it was too complicated, to go out. Once or twice we got together with neighbors who had little children, and had a good time. Slowly, our lives as parents became the most important part of our celebrations. New Year’s Eve was no exception. We are look forward to celebrating it with our children, as they grow older.

My husband’s videotaping himself has actually become a tradition, much like me not waking up at all for a midnight toast. This year I toasted with my mom and dad at 5 p.m. – midnight in Italy – which is close enough.

I don’t feel pressure to have fun on New Year’s Eve anymore. Every day is New Year’s with little kids, and kissing them good night is all of the celebration I need.

That is, as my husband often reminds me, until they go to college.