After wearing a mad pink party hat and well-wishing customers all day, I came home expecting a quiet New Year’s Eve. But a flood in the kitchen changed such wistful dreams, and in the course of that clean-up project, I ended up on my knees in the bathroom, scrubbing the tub. Yes, that’s right. My 27th New Year’s Eve, spent with a rag and a bottle of Lysol.
New Year’s Eve and I don’t always get along.
When we were small, we’d hole up in the living room with movies and popcorn, and usually a few minutes after midnight, my dad would wish us well and send us to bed. That’s when the disparity between my hopes and the reality of the Eve began to dissapoint me, I think.
When we got a little older, we’d rush out into the street with pots and pans and bang them together, screaming gleefully. Our neighbours kindly joined in the raucous, screaming at us.
Some of my most memorable and awkward Eves involve non-dates. Once I hit adolescence, New Year’s was all about Having Someone to Kiss.
I dragged my brother along as a reluctant chaperone, while I flirted in the front seat with his friend.
I invited another suitor to my workplace, and we spent the final minutes handing out cake and cookies. It was awkward. No sweeping me into his arms, just “Would you like a napkin?”
The day before my husband and I started dating, we spent the wee hours at a friend’s house, while I cringed in the corner and tried to ignore him. Secretly, I wished he’d kiss me when the clock struck midnight. He didn’t. But how could he? I was too busy ignoring him, while jealously watching other couples ring in the New Year.
The year I didn’t lack for kisses involved another guy – one that I was trying to make jealous. I wore a handmade button on my jacket, saying kiss me – and before the clock struck midnight, I’d garnered 47 kisses, none of them from him.
Even last year, my first as a married lady, was a rather flat evening – I came home from work, kissed my husband and went to bed at 8:30. He had to wake me for midnight.
So it’s no wonder that this year, I was scrubbing the tub.
But guess what? I’ve made my peace with New Year’s Eve.
Like my sparkling white bathtub, I feel clean today. All of the gunk of my romantic expectations and unreasonable personal ideals and demands on my life feel scrubbed away by this year’s circumstances. I’ve had some extrordinary true and real moments amidst the dissapointment.
It’s a New Year, just waiting to be realised. How marvellous.