NYE 2011/2 involved a beautiful meal for two in a restaurant overlooking a gorgeous square in the centre of London, followed by an epic, extravagant fancy dress party at our private members club. We hopped into a taxi at 2am and slept in until lunch the next day.
Fast forward 5 years, and NYE 2016/7 involved dinner, bath, stories and bed as usual for Little Bu (who’s grown too big for the name Baby Bu now), followed by a home cooked 3 course steak dinner and an early night.
Granted, jet lag took over, after our recent trip to the UK and we happened to still be awake at midnight, but we’d certainly tried to fall asleep early, knowing Little Bu could be up at the crack of dawn.
In between her bedtime and ours, I twice had to lie beside her in her bed, to help her fall back to sleep. And by 2am she was in our bed for the night.
I heard fireworks and parties going on in the neighbourhood, and I saw Facebook posts from friends out celebrating – dressed up, nice venue, party in full swing. Me in 2012.
There was a part of me that felt that I should be jealous, wishing I was there. They’re having such a great time, they’re living the life.
But deep down, all I could feel was contentment; comfort. Maybe I’m getting old (well, 5 years older to be precise). Maybe becoming a mama has changed me (yep, no doubt). But I was quite happy being at home with my family, having a relaxed meal, and a kiss at midnight.
All over the world on NYE there are mums cuddling their babies, feeding them, lying beside them as they fall asleep (sometimes counting the seconds and thinking about what’s waiting for them when they go downstairs). Singing soft songs and whispering ‘I love you’ as they gaze at their sleeping little faces. Many are feeling exhausted, drained, stressed, touched out. But still doing those little acts for their children. Meanwhile, the rest of the world parties.
But all I can think is, aren’t we lucky? We’ve created these little people, who bring us such awe and joy. We don’t even need to leave our own homes to find happiness – our little ones will supply that for us, just by giving us a little sleepy cuddle, by giggling in that gorgeous, contagious way, or (in my case) by whispering ‘happy new year’ to us as they fall asleep.
I woke up this morning with Little Bu curled up beside me, chattering happily and making up songs. We went downstairs, fed the birds, did a little yoga in the garden and ate some breakfast on the porch. No hang over. No missing memories or regrets. Just a fresh day, a fresh year, and my wonderful family by my side.
Maybe I am getting old, but I’d choose NYE 2016/7 over 2011/12 any day now. The love and little joys that come from family far outweigh the tough moments, and as we enter 2017, I am grateful.
Happy New Year.