New Years Eve is such a funny thing. The evening comes with such a loaded meaning and massive expectations. I spend most of the year not giving a jot when other people are drinking around me at parties and events, but then come NYE and I had this funny little sad spell when I felt left out.
We were camping at a beautiful spot by a surf beach and lagoon in the South Island. Four families in our immediate campsite, plus other friends nearby. The days had been filled with swimming and bike riding and game playing and book reading and chatting and just general summer loveliness.
NYE started out really well with an early evening camp concert which morphed into a disco dance (dancing in the daylight to 'Moves Like Jagger' with a bunch of kids is super fun!) but then everyone settled down and the kids ran off to play and the adults were hooking into the drinks and I felt a bit weird and 'lost'. Conspicuously sober.
It's crazy because not everyone was boozing.. it really was just in my head because of the loaded expectations of the night. I made myself a fancy drink of sorts in a plastic cup but then it spilled onto the sand which bummed me out. So I got busy pottering around tidying and stuff. I wasn't relaxed and not entirely happy. Mostly I felt a bit weird about being stone-cold sober on NYE.
This is a BUMMER because I love living sober and don't miss alcohol at all.. I don't want to drink it or go back to my boozy ways. I am happy as Larry with my new life choice. It's just the bloody NYE thing - it's hard to escape I suppose.
Anyway soon enough it got dark and the guitars came out and people were sitting around on deckchairs singing and the kids were playing and I relaxed and my woe-is-me thoughts slipped away. The glow sticks came out and everyone had a wild and crazy glow stick time. Everyone except our 7-year-old that is. He had a meltdown because his weren't working, or he didn't have enough or something. It was the kind of kid meltdown that could easily have been brushed aside with a "you're fine, you've got enough, just go play" message from mum.
But I didn't do that. I remembered that there was another packet deep inside a suitcase in the back of the car. And even better - I had the time and patience and desire to go on a mission to help Mr 7 find them.
We set off with torches to the car, but then I realised I didn't have my car keys so we navigated our way back to the tent to find them. Mr 7 was chatting all the way.. we were on a mission! Keys found we navigated our way back (always a tricky mission trying to avoid tripping up on tent ropes), unlocked the car, found the suitcase, found the glow sticks, then sat in the back getting them going and then making them into necklaces, wrist bands, and ankle bracelets.
The whole endeavour easily took 30 minutes.
There is NO WAY that I would have taken the time and effort to do this whole glow stick mission had I been boozing. NO WAY.
But I am a sober mummy now and as such absolutely made my 7-year-old's night. We had such a great, gentle, satisfying time together for those 30 minutes.. and we've talked about it since.
By the time he was fully adorned and glowing he was so tired he sat in my lap in a deckchair wrapped in a blanket all cosy and warm for another hour or so listening to the guitars and the singing until he announced he was ready for bed. Not quite midnight but a good effort nonetheless.
People who haven't been miserable boozers probably won't understand the significance of this incident but for someone like me who is still so aware of how things have changed in my life - it was gold.
I LOVED my little glow stick mission with my little man. It totally made NYE for me. I LOVED that we connected and he stayed by my side from then until bed. I LOVED that I was clear-headed and present for him. I LOVED the warmth and cosiness of our deckchair singalong.
After he went to bed I went on a solo walk with a torch around the entire campsite, soaking up the atmosphere of all the parties that were going on (and marvelling at all the dark tents - many campers weren't even bothering to stay up!). It was a peaceful, gentle, reflective walk and I felt calm and happy and good.
Back to our site just in time for "HAPPY NEW YEAR!!" followed by a vigorous round of hugs and kisses, the obligatory rendition of 'Auld Lang Syne', then a midnight feast of cheese and salami and bed.
NYE done and dusted, happy as always to wake up hangover free. Bring on 2017.
Love, Mrs D xxx