For the first time in 5 years, I ditched JD on New Year’s Eve. This was a tough call, especially because we’ve celebrated New Year’s with either family or friends in the past. He was always my “New Year’s kiss,” even on the years he fell asleep.
Like last year, we were invited to a kid-friendly party, where everyone is invited to sleepover, so the adults can enjoy a few cocktails. Everyone brings food and booze. There’s a kiddy menu, cookie decorating, and movie showing. The kids wear PJs. The adults drink a little, play games, and just hang. It’s low-key fun and JD has a blast, which made RSVPing, “No,” this year really hard.
This year Ed, Lily’s dad, brought a turkey. Wrapped in bacon.
JD’s friend, Lily, partied till 1 AM. I’m told JD was snoozing by 8:30 PM and the highlight of his evening was eating microwave popcorn and sharing said popcorn with Max the dog. He was happy and well looked after.
I felt selfish.
I felt guilty.
I felt sad.
Like a bad momdad. (What I call myself.)
On December 31, I spent the entire day with JD. We played with his new Christmas toys and made lunch together. We read books and danced. “Can we do the ‘holding dance,’ Mommy?” This is when I pick JD up and whirl him around in circles, music blasting. “Only if I’m the only one you do the holding dance with, honey. It’s our thing!”
JD had no concept that it was in fact New Year’s Eve. I thought this would remind him of last year’s great time, so I didn’t mention it. He played hockey in the basement with Andrew. We partied till 1 AM. He sipped apple juice from a champagne flute in tuxedo-theme pajamas. He of course spilt the juice.
At around 5 PM, I started getting ready and my mom distracted him by making spaghetti and meatballs. I wanted him to think it was just another night. A random night where I dip out for a little bit and he stays with my mom, dad, or fun babysitter. He’s become used to mommy going out every now and then.
I was finishing my makeup, fully dressed in a glitzy little dress, when he burst through the bathroom door. “I have to pee, mommy,” he said.
“You look beautiful,” he said and he touched his pointer finger to a shiny bead on my dress.
I bent down to his level. “Thanks lil dude,” I said. “Nose kiss?” I asked. He wrapped his fists gently around the tresses of my cascading hair.
He rubbed his nose against mine. I knew it would be the sweetest, truest kiss of my night … regardless.
I returned the next day. With a slight headache. There was a homemade Happy New Year’s card waiting for me. We ate a feast at my dad’s, wore party hats, and blew noise-makers.
I pulled it off. And I had fun. And JD had fun.
This is the tricky part about single parenting and dating. I get that many married and committed couples may have taken the night off and left their kids with sitters on New Year’s Eve. But there’s the other crop of parents, my close crew, that parties with the kids. And there’s the single mom at that party—me. And she can’t really bring her date because her date hasn’t met her child yet so she has to choose, and there’s something, at least I think, that makes going out with your husband, father of your child(ren), different than choosing to leave your child to be with your date. On a holiday. But that’s just me.
Undisclosed voice of reason: You’re acting like you left him to fend for himself on Christmas morning. You had an adult evening. Give yourself a break.
That took the edge off. Well, and all that champagne.
Happy New Year! What did you do?
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