1:00 a.m. and jenna's finally asleep. I've never seen her so excited. No lie. All day long, every half hour, is it time for New Year's Rockin' Eve yet? Is the ball going to drop soon?
Me telling her it's only 10 in the morning, and no, we've got lots of hours to go.
How many Chuckie episodes, she wants to know. (We somehow got in the habit of marking time by Rug Rats episodes when she was 3. My bad.) I tell her about 28 Chuckie episodes. She asks me, 28 minutes!? No, Jenna, 28 Chuckie episodes. Lots of stares of disbelief. How could it possibly take that long to get to midnight?
I honestly don't know.
Then the questions about 2003 begin. She shouts, in 2003 I'll be six years old! I say, yep. She says, TOMORROW?? No not until September. NINE MORE DAYS? No, nine more months. But how many more days. I tell her 200 and something. She wants to know how many Chuckie episodes til she turns six. I say like 20 thousand or something. She seems satisfied.
SOON I'LL BE SIX!! Yes, soon. nine more months.
Well, mom, then how many more minutes til the ball drops?
That was all by 11:30 this morning. It went on and on like that. All day. All night.
Last year she was so excited about New Year's Eve that we taped the three hours of programming before, during, and after the ball dropped. She loved that tape. And understand that I'm not complaining. To have a bright, energetic, inquisitive, healthy, happy child. That's enough for me. That's all I need in 2003 to keep me going. That and some speed and some Vitamin B12 shots and maybe six or seven dozen boxes of No-Dose to keep up with her.
In between question and answer sessions with Jenna, I talked to good friends this evening, and to George on break. Every one heard Jenna bopping around in the background, barely able to contain herself. I said, yep, she'll stay up til midnight. I wish I could get her to bed sooner. My friend Marge has the wisdom of a mother with two children. "Can't you find the tape from last year? Put it in and make believe."
I never THOUGHT of it--I wish I had. Believe me, I'm putting this year's tape somewhere safe once I can pry it out of her tiny little hands.
Cut to Midnight.
The ball drops. Jenna and I are so excited we roll around the bed and hug and scream. I tell her Daddy's playing that same song in North Carolina where he's working tonight. She's amazed--RIGHT NOW?! He's playing that RIGHT NOW? I tell her yep, every New Year's Eve. Right at the same time. Just like on TV. RIGHT NOW?! she says it with such glee.
She can't believe the synchronicity of it all.
And I think of the New Years Eves past--13 years of them before Jenna was born--that I knew George, married him, followed him to New Year's Eve gigs, sitting at the table of band wives, watching the crowd get drunker and drunker. Waiting for my kiss until every other party animal in the joint got theirs and the band went on break. Some of them were fun. Party until 5 a.m., hang out, get breakfast, party some more, go to sleep half-way through the day. That, actually, is my kind of living. Or should I say was.
Then comes baby. Those days are over.
Now I'm used to spending New Years with our little girl. It's the night sharp shooter musicians scatter to grab the highest paying gigs. It's payback night that on rare occasion makes up for a suckass rest of the year.
And from now on, at least for the next decade, it's a night I'll be happy to spend jumping around on the bed hugging and screaming with my sweet crazy girl, singing Auld Lang Syne in time with Daddy.