Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Auld Lang Syne
Jennifer Flaten

The little kids were determined to stay up until midnight, on New Year’s Eve. Their plan included glow sticks, sleeping bags, many movies and a huge tub of popcorn. Compared to what I had planned their party sounded pretty rockin’, I was jealous that I wasn’t invited.

I love the creativity my kids show. Not only did they rearrange the bedroom to accommodate all of them, haul in every stuffed animal, blanket and pillow in the house, but they made their own party hats and confetti. They tried to talk me into letting them make their own giant glass ball to drop. I said no

I set them up at the beginning of the evening in the bedroom of the youngest kid and checked on them, periodically, throughout the evening. Each time I opened the door, I would silently pray that they were fast asleep. No such luck, they were wide awake each time and assured me they were having the best time ever and would most definitely make it until midnight; damn.

I really expected at least one would fall asleep some time before 10 pm. My money was on the youngest. Much to my dismay by 11 pm they were still raring to go.

I, on the other hand, was not. I desperately wanted to go to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I can stay up late. In fact, just the other night I stayed up until 2 am to finish a book-no really I did.

I love reading books at night, after everyone else is asleep. I get hours of uninterrupted reading time. I can go pages and pages without someone sticking their face between mine and the book and sighing dramatically that they called me 5 times and why didn’t I answer them.

Apparently, when reading I have the ability to block everything else out. Many a burned dinner is the fault of a good book. I’ve inadvertently given my children permission to juggle knives while deep in a book; not sharp knives, butter knives.

Although I can stay up late reading, I have a hard time staying up on New Year’s Eve. Something about New Year’s Eve, itself, makes me incredibly sleepy. Maybe it’s Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin co-hosting the ball drop on CNN.

Maybe it’s because the kids and I did our new year’s toast at 7 pm, with sparkling grape juice. Well, we had to do it early. I didn’t expect them to last until midnight. Plus, I am crazy, but not crazy enough to let them have grape juice in the bedroom with the beige carpet. Once we had that toast I was ready for bed.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a good book to read. Maybe it is because New Year’s Eve is the second to last day of winter break and I’ve spent 12 days with a pack of rabid baboons, yes, my children, the sweet darlings.

Whatever, the reason, at 10:45 pm, I couldn’t stave off the sandman for another minute.  I convinced my kids it was super exciting to watch the ball drop in New York City. Then I hustled them off to bed.

Of course, it took me a long time to fall asleep. I think I was actually awake at midnight. I am happy to report that no one in my new community finds it necessary to ring in the New Year with firecrackers or firearms

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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