Art by pinkertoncomics.com

Happy New Year’s Slumbering Eve

Jeffrey Cohen

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If it’s midnight on New Year’s Eve, most likely I’m in bed.

From ages 19 to 39, I hosted an annual New Year’s Eve party. Over time, it transported from the original location (my family home on Long Island) to my temporary marital residence (an apartment in Queens) to my first house (also Queens).

The last party was the most difficult. My 11-month-old son, despite being given an extra hour of “awake time” to greet partygoers, woke during the 6 am hour, as usual.

I changed his diaper and tossed him back in his crib with a bunch of toys, but he got crabby within minutes and demanded to be set free. I set up multiple baby gates and placed him on the floor, but he pulled himself up on my side of the bed moments later, demanding my attention. It was a long January 1.

It turns out my (then) wife’s family still held gatherings. When our next door neighbor, a nurse, volunteered to babysit, we jumped at the opportunity to socialize with adults.

“You could even give me the baby monitor and a house key, since I’m a minute away,” she offered.

We negotiated for her to crash on our couch, leveraging that we paid to adequately heat our house. She kept temperatures low, because spending 63 cents per night for oil to keep her home above 55 degrees was apparently anathema as a concept.

Letting a four-year-old wander around for two hours while you laboriously pull yourself from deep slumber is not a fantastic option. I fed him some waffles and spent the morning half-conscious, drinking tea in a recliner in the living room.

Jump-cut a decade to singlehood and custody of my two kids every other New Year’s Eve. They spent the tail end of December 2019 with their mother in Florida, while I fought a sinus infection in peace and quiet. With COVID being a concern, we were sequestered in 2020. I offered to let them stay up to watch the ball drop in Times Square, but they insisted on normal bedtime.

My original plan to be fast asleep was derailed by a text conversation with a similarly-homebound friend. While showering around midnight, I could hear illegal fireworks going off in different parts of the neighborhood. The timing worked in my favor, as people calmed down and I was out cold by 12:30…

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Jeffrey Cohen

Longtime writer and crank. Articles come from more than 30 years in journalism and corporate communications. Follow my podcast at MrJeff2000.podbean.com.