gail schimmel

The blog of writer Gail Schimmel: A bit of writing, a bit of parenting, a bit of thinking and some book reviews

New Year’s Eve – My Way

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I spend New Year’s Eve with my sleeping children, and I love it.

If I’m honest, I’ve never really been a New Year’s person. Sure, in my late teens and early twenties, I TRIED to love it, and even had some fun ones, but a forced jol with an inverted curfew and drunk vomiting is just not my scene. And I really, really hate being sprayed with cheap champagne.

My husband, on the other hand, LOVES New Year’s. And because we have been together for a lot of years, we’ve spent a lot of New Year’s together. Some we both enjoyed (the Millennium Party in St Francis Bay where I laughed so much I wet my pants stands out); some I enjoyed and he didn’t; and quite a few he enjoyed and I didn’t.

Then we had children. We are not lucky enough to have grandparents who can babysit (we only have one parent between us left, and she is not up to a whole night of our terrors). Our beloved nanny is away over this time, and our children are not the type who can be left with a stranger dug up out of a friend’s contact book. So for a few years we went to house parties, where I would spend the evening trying to get my kids to sleep in a friend’s bed. Then three years ago, I saw the light. If I am going to spend the night trying to make my children sleep, I’ll do it in my own bed, thanks. It’s not like I like New Years anyway. But the real epiphany was when I realised that my husband did not have to stay home with me. He loves New Year’s parties. I hate them. Our kids need someone to look after them. The answer was finally self evident.

The first time it felt strange – my husband and I had spent about 15 years seeing the year in together, and I felt sad letting go of that. And I briefly wondered “what people would think” when they saw him out without me. Then I realised that people don’t matter – he and I know why we made this decision, and why for now it is the right one for our family.

But here is the most important part – I absolutely LOVE my lonely New Year’s Eves. I love that I don’t need to buy in to the mayhem and the anxiety. I love that I am with two of the three people that I love most – and I know that the third is having fun. I love the time I spend thinking about what my aims for the next year are, and reflecting on what I have achieved. And I LOVE that no-one stops me going to sleep. I’m secure enough in my self and my marriage to embrace that I have found my own way to see in a new year, and that it is not the same as everybody else might choose.

Sometimes people say that they envy me my quiet celebration, and maybe they mean it, or maybe they wish they meant it. But I’ll be honest, when the children are grown and I no longer have an “excuse” to stay home, I’m not sure I’ll be willing to give up my New Year’s, and go back to the tyranny of the NYE party.

And just so you know – this year I am committing to at least a monthly blog post – on the 31st of the month! So if you don’t hear from me sooner, I’ll be back here on the 31st of January. . .


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