As we drove home to Chicago following our visit in Springfield, IL Steve said, “It doesn’t even feel like New Year’s. It just isn’t the same.” I knew exactly what he meant. It wasn’t an insult, nor a complaint. It was merely an observation of where we are in our lives today versus the days gone by.
[Cue the dream sequence of a hopeful 20-something]
Paying big money for the hottest tickets to the biggest, most anticipated New Year’s Eve party. Searching for the perfect outfit – must be sparkly, glamorous and eye catching – and spending hours preparing for the big night. Hair, makeup, shoes... perfection! After all, it might be the night I find and kiss the love of my life.
Oh, those parties! So many of them – year after year - turned out to be a horrible disappointment, mostly because I ended up drinking myself into an unrecognizable slobbery mess. I think more times than not I ended up fighting with my date and crying at some point. Did I even get that magic midnight kiss? Who knows… by that time I was sporting such thick beer goggles that I could have kissed anyone and never remembered it. It was typically a night of embarrassment and regret.
I couldn’t help but laugh when I came across my friend, Daniel’s Facebook status. Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my “This-Didn’t-Turn-Out-How-I-Envisioned-It” New Year’s Eve experiences. In fact, quite the opposite; it seems I was in good company. Who knew?!?
[Fast forward to this New Year’s Eve]
Turns out that the best ticket in town didn’t cost a thing, wasn’t hard to come by and required no specific dress code. Kids were invited, drinking was optional and the music was top notch.
The headlining act came in the form of a Talent and Magic Show produced by the kids. We were given a hand-drawn program and tickets. Cierstin, my nine year old niece, was the producer and successfully rounded up the younger ones, convincing them to collectively create a variety show. They worked really hard, and it was nothing short of brilliant.
So, while it may have been light years away from the exclusive parties of yesterday, it was the best New Year’s Eve we’d ever had. Playing games, stuffing ourselves with delicious food, laughing uncontrollably and being with family - the most important people in our lives… what could be better? Isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway?
And just in case you’re wondering, yes, I kissed the love of my life at midnight, and though I can’t say there were no tears, at least those were reserved for the children.
Happy New Year!