Friday 30 Sep 2016

Midnight Stokers
Jennifer Flaten

The local news came on just as I was putting the final changes on my resolution list. I make resolutions I can keep. As I wrote, “eat more cupcakes,” I heard the newscaster advising people to refrain from firing their guns into the air at midnight. Do you need to tell people not to do that; oh, right, I live in Wisconsin; we take our guns to the grocery store.

Okay, maybe the world ending in 2012 isn’t such a bad thing. As long as I still get to celebrate my birthday, with cupcakes, before it ends. That way I can go out happy and check something off my resolution list.

The news ended. I settled down to await midnight. Yes, for the first time in a long time, I stayed up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. Don’t get me wrong I frequently stay up reading a good book or finishing a movie; I just refrain from going out on New Year’s Eve.

I don’t hate the holiday, per se. I hate people, exactly. Yes, I say that aloud.

Normally, I would be dead to the world come midnight on New Year‘s Eve, but this year I waited, impatiently I might add, for the new year to begin, so I could go to bed. I did it, not because I give a flying fig about the New Year, I don’t. In my opinion, if you’ve seen one year you’ve seen them all, not I did it, but because my kids wanted to stay up until midnight.

This means I had to stay up until midnight, no truly, the mom handbook specifically says if the kids stay up until midnight then the mom has to stay up until midnight. At least until the kids are out of the house, then it is out of sight out of mind;-what you do is your business. I don’t want to read about it on your Facebook page.

Alas, my kids are at that age where they believe something magical happens at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Do you remember being that young and innocent? No? Neither do I, but my kids are, even after my best efforts to convince them otherwise.

My kids are born skeptics. I told them nothing magical happens, but they told me they wouldn’t take my word for it. They had to see it for themselves. As if I would lie to them, telling them not to make that face because it might freeze that way isn’t lying.

Much skillful negotiating took place. Them; they almost had me begging them to stay up to midnight. Me; engaged in much melodramatic sighing, eventually agreeing to let them stay up.

Despite their elaborate plans to stay awake, which involved ice cubes and card games, Go Fish, not Texas Hold ’em; they are kids not card sharks, I had my suspicions about their ability to stay up until 12 am. I figured they would pass out around 10:30 pm and I could still get a decent night’s sleep.

No such luck had I. They possess an iron will and perhaps a hidden stash of Red Bull, because at least one of them made it until 11:30 pm. When midnight finally arrived, thankfully, I went to wish them a Happy New Year and found all three asleep. For just a moment, I thought about yelling “Happy New Year” and tossing confetti, but I didn’t.

Even though I knew they would be disappointed to miss the “magic”, it really is better to let sleeping children lie.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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