I’ve tried. For years I’ve tried to wholly feel the surge of energy that some people seem to display at the turn of the New Year. But, for me, 11:59am on December 31st feels no different that 12:01am on January 1st. I’ve made peace with my lack of New Year’s revelry. Maybe it’s just not for me. Besides, I love to sleep and generally have a hard time staying awake past 11:00pm.
As a mother, I did find a way to make the New Year magical for my daughters. I told them at the end of each year, Father Time sets a new Baby New Year upon the world to visit the homes of young children. Much like cookies for Santa, one leaves a baby bottle and a fresh diaper for Baby New Year and he/she will trade out their full diaper and finish the bottle.
As a return favor, Baby New Year leaves an important letter to the children (in a child-like font) with many misspelled words. The letter predicts events in the childrens lives for the coming New Year. With early childhood so many events are predictable: they will loose a tooth, learn cursive, become a girl scout, learn to swim or do a flip turn, hike their first mountain, change their car seats, sleep in a bunk bed, enter Kindergarten, learn to ski, or have their first haircut. My girls were always completely amazed that Baby New Year knew all this and looked forward to the coming events.
Baby New Year supplements the letter with a few items that help the children along with their journey: a journal, toothbrush, hiking gear, or a new booster car seat. These items are not on par with holiday gifts but they are functional. My daughters loved them.
It happened about two years ago. We bought a beautiful antique dining set from an estate sale right before the holiday for $350. It was a surprise find, so Mr. Golightly and I made it our holiday gift, which was more fun than the new furnace we were forced to buy for each other the prior year. The dining set included a table that very comfortably accommodates eight wide chairs and a buffet and china cabinet with a beautiful carved oak leaf and acorn motif.
That year, we decided to host a New Year’s dinner and invite 12 adult guests with their children, three of which were to spend the night (er – three of the children that is).
It was a great dinner party and I actually felt a little New Year’s excitement. The children stayed up to blow horns and throw confetti at midnight. They even choreographed a dance routine for us adults to enjoy.
At 1:00am – it happened. As the adult guests were leaving, Petite Poe turned to her friends and said, “Oh, and tomorrow morning we’ll all get letters from Baby New Year - and gifts too!”
In my grand planning of the dinner party and excitement over having a real dining set, I had completely forgotten to plan for Baby New Year. At 1:00am I needed to load the dishwasher and do a bit of clean up before diving into bed. I pulled Poet aside and said, “Don’t say anything more about Baby New Year. I think something’s up.” Thankfully, she had the distraction of playing with her friends so she quickly wrote it off.
There was no way I could write five letters, two for my daughters and three for their friends and supplement these letters with gifts at 1am. Besides what would I say to these children, “You will go on safari to Africa and eat brioche in Paris?” Their parents would just love me for that.
Sadly, my poor planning put an end to Baby New Year’s visits. As I reflect, it’s hard to write a Baby New Year’s letter to a 12 year old about to turn 13. There may be things in Petite Poe’s 2010 that I don’t wish to think about. Poe has a good head on her shoulders and is consumed with her studies. But, 13 is 13 and she looks well beyond it. The other day, I watched a bicyclist check out my daughter as I walked behind her with Little Pie. I wanted to scream, “She’s 12 you pervert!” I shall now go and scream in a pillow, a very big and thick one.
If you have small children, Baby New Year could visit them too. The children will love learning what awaits them in the coming year.
I will mourn a tradition I’m no longer able to keep. Perhaps our grandchildren will have a few years with Baby New Year.