Celebrating the New Year a New Way—by Jamie Levine
I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Eve. Everything is overpriced and overhyped, and everyone is filled with way too many expectations about what the evening should deliver. Thus, for the decade before I gave birth to Jayda, most of my New Year’s Eves were spent in my apartment with a close friend or two, sharing a bottle of wine and watching a DVD before doing the requisite viewing of the ball dropping in Times Square. And I always made it to the gym on New Year’s day morning—hangover free. Once Jayda was born, New Year’s Eve generally meant being treated to a lobster dinner by my parents after I put Jayda to bed, and hitting the sack, myself, soon after. I rarely stayed up past 10 p.m.—let alone until midnight. But this year, everything changed: There was lots of hype and planning, as well as quite a bit of alcohol involved, and I had very high expectations.
After weeks of praying for Library Guy to recover from an illness that had sapped his strength and scared the both of us to death—as well as aborted our plan to spend the night in the city after I finished my finals—Library Guy and I decided that New Year’s Eve would be our night. My parents agreed to watch Jayda from 4:30 p.m. Friday until noon on Saturday—making it the first entire night we’d ever spent apart—and Library Guy booked us a room at the Marriott. I dug out my high heels, sparkly jewelry, and a sexy black velvet dress (which I found in my closet encased in a dry cleaning bag from almost five years ago); Library Guy purchased alcohol and a variety of treats, planned our dinner out, and prayed that his nasty ex-wife wouldn’t sabotage our plans. And the anticipation built.
I prepped Jayda for her first mommy-free night by being pretty honest with her. I told her that Library Guy and I needed to have some private grown-up time, but that her grandma and grandpa would be there to take care of her all night long…and I’d be back to have lunch with her on Saturday. She whined and complained, and put on her “sad little Jayda” face, but I knew she’d be all right. And she was. When Library Guy came to pick me up, Jayda showered me with hugs and kisses and told me she loved me, and then sent me on my way with a smile still on her face. Library Guy said he was surprised by how well our parting went, and when I agreed, he continued “I knew Jayda would be ok…it was you I was worried about!”
Suffice to say, I was fine—more than fine—and aside from mentioning Jayda during some typical banter with Library Guy about our children, I barely gave my daughter another thought. The night was ours…and we both thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. It was easy and comfortable, intimate and fun; we were self-indulgent, stress-free, and both slept better than we had in months. And, as I told Library Guy as we checked out of the room, “After having such high expectations for this time together, and talking about it for weeks, it’s amazing that the evening delivered—and our getaway was so wonderful.” It really was a perfect New Year’s Eve—a perfect ending to 2010 and launch of 2011. And best of all, Jayda actually slept through the night without me!