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Jan 4, 201209:00 AMMinivan Diaries

Thoughts on New Year’s Eve

Jan 4, 2012 - 09:00 AM
Thoughts on New Year’s Eve

Happy New Year!

One New Year’s Eve in the mid-1990s — details are hazy — I found myself on a conga line in Times Square with a bunch of people from Kansas.

My, how times have changed.

Hmm. I wonder why?

Oh, right. A mere year or two after that evening, I found myself on another New Year’s Eve, this time being screamed at by a colicky infant.

My husband and I rang in 1997 trying out different swaddling techniques and stumbling around the living room, each trying to fob the baby off onto the other.

Luckily, things have looked up since then. It seems to me there are several viable options for grownups in the Bethesda area on New Year’s Eve:

  1. Go to a friends’ house and eat too much baked Brie. (Need I say this is my favorite?) Throw some chicken nuggets at the children and toss them in the basement. May the strongest survive. Kidding! (Sort of.)
  2. Stay home and watch TV. Make curmudgeonly comments about how New Year’s Eve is Amateur Night. Realize you’ve never heard of half the performers. Watch Justin Bieber. Imagine Justin Bieber counting his money. Feel the horror.
  3. Change the clocks and tell the kids at 10 p.m. it’s really midnight. Enjoy the quiet and a glass of champagne with your spouse before you both nod off on the couch 45 minutes before 12:00 a.m. Oops.
  4. Forget about the whole thing and go to bed when the kids do.

I am pretty sure that we have explored them all.

I’m not saying we don’t enjoy ourselves. But New Year’s Eve just doesn’t seem like a big deal.

Perhaps we no longer need to seek out conga lines in Times Square at midnight because our daily lives resemble one. Why settle for once a year when sensory overload, mayhem, and loss of control are yours for the having every night right around six o’clock?

The people who are pushing me around now are smaller than the Kansans I met so many years ago, but they are no less bent on sweeping me along their path. And there’s no escaping them. They live with me.

One thing that hasn’t changed about New Year’s is I still make resolutions. They tend not to be grounded in any sort of reality.

For example, one of my resolutions for 2012 is to switch to whole wheat pasta. I mean, if you’re going to eat plain buttered pasta 350 days a year, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

All over Montgomery County virtuous mothers are serving their children whole wheat pasta without said offspring rioting in the streets. I want to be in that number.

Unfortunately, however, anytime I serve my children anything redolent of . . . grains. . . . they stare at their plates like a Borgia Pope looking down his nose at a plate of odd-smelling gnocchi.

What can this be, they wonder, sniffing suspiciously. “Is some minion – namely, our mother – out to get us?”

And then they riot in the streets.

So this is not going to be easy.

But maybe that’s why I still am fond of New Year’s. Every year in January, we celebrate the chance for a fresh start.

Intellectually, we know that nothing much may change, or that change will only come through hard work, and in my case, full body armor at dinnertime. But in our hearts, there’s still hope. And you never know. Maybe this will be the year.

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About This Blog

“Minivan Diaries” will chronicle the adventures and misadventures of raising a family in the Bethesda area, as well as provide hot parenting tips such as how to survive your child’s birthday party and how to transcend summer carpool planning.

Maura Mahoney is a writer and editor who lives in Chevy Chase with her husband, three kids, and a mountain of laundry. Maura has worked in the publishing industry for more than twenty years, including stints at Reader’s Digest, Mother Jones, and CQ Weekly Report. She has been writing for the past two years on parenting topics for ExaminerDC and Chevy Chase Patch.

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