It’s New Year’s Eve 2016. Most grownups are probably planning to dress up, head out, and party.
As for me, I am in Minnie Mouse hand me down sweatpants, my husband’s sweatshirt, a messy pony tail, and glasses. After 3 hours of hard core cleaning, I am sitting here smiling as I listen to the faint sounds of my husband singing Martina McBride to the girls in the playroom (he really pulls off soprano quite convincingly!)
My party days have really changed since… well, no, changed is not quite right. I did the “popular” thing before once or twice. In college and beyond, parties where people dressed up like a movie and held a really cool glass with some bubbly/translucent liquid and just seemed to… get it. The party thing. The “COOL” thing.
Even when I studied it closely, even when I pretended… I never either a) got it b) convinced a soul that I got it.
But… maybe I get it now.
Today, I hosted 23 kiddos 12 and under in a Cupcake Wars-Style NOON Year’s Eve Countdown. After 4 hours sleep+3 hours sleep the night before. My kitchen was a MESS. Like, even worse than when I cook in it. (And that is saying something! Doubters, verify with my husband.)
Magic? Maybe. At least for me. It was totally fulfilling to show these awesome kids how to pipe icing, give them hints about different textures/shortcuts/etc. and have them teach me several as well. To see them working fluidly together to create a cohesive cupcake with the crazy ingredients they were assigned. Just to see the brilliance of their imagination, because it is immeasurable. 3 hours of cleaning is nothing compared to seeing THAT look on a kid’s face. Just their imagination being real for a moment. Because, how awesome is that? I remember those days, when I wanted so hard for the magic to be real, when I picked berries and mixed them with whatever ingredients were in our cupboards for a dessert treat (the tears in my parents’ eyes as they “enjoyed” it were clearly joy, right?)
So I sent home with these kids 42 confetti-filled balloons they collected from the balloon drop countdown, 36 cent boxes with cupcakes and Father Time (aka Santa, thank you 90% off Walmart pricing!) and passed out face first on my bed for 45 minutes before my cleaning spree. And since then… I haven’t been able to stop smiling.
Because I did it. At least, I think I did.
I finally fit in. Granted, I was wearing a Gryffindor Quidditch Captain sweatshirt and a pair of 5-year-old Chuck Taylor’s that had an unrecoverable chocolate pudding stain from my lunch monitor days… but I had 23 (little) people who were totally thrilled with being together, celebrating, and accepting one another for exactly who they are.
The little faces that looked at these balloons coming toward them with absolute acceptance.
So as I fix my kiddos dinner and tuck them in while the wind roars fiercely outside, and anticipate folding a week’s worth of laundry while watching “Forrest Gump” as always, I anticipate 2017 wholeheartedly with all of its quirks and uncertainties.
Happy New Year’s! May everything you ever have dreamed come true.