Dear 23 Year Old Me,
First off, you’re going to be really cold in that tiny sparkly top tonight. It doesn’t even have a back to it, for gods sakes! No really….go look in the mirror. Do you see how your stomach peeks through between the top of your pleather clubbing pants and the bottom of your no-back-included shirt? Do you see how FLAT your stomach is? Self-conscious rebel child, with the belly button ring and the skintight pants….just look at yourself. And say thank you. Thank you for being young enough to enjoy this, and naive enough to not know any better. Take a moment of grace, find a moment of quiet peace, and take this in. Then tie the straps of your nearly non-existent shirt as tight as they’ll go, and pray that no one ever finds out that you were stupid enough to not even wear a bra, when your shirt is held together with string.
As you buckle the straps on your glitter stilettos, your adrenaline starts to race. It’s the first annual Single Girl’s New Years, your hair is perfectly flipped, and your hoop earrings could easily pass for bracelets. Your girlfriends are drinking Vodka Cran in the living room, and you’re about to head out the door. There’s a party at a bar in Palo Alto, and a bartender with a wicked smile whose last name is Kiss. I’m not even kidding. That’s really his name. You will leave the bar at 1 am, arm in arm with your best friends, with the Kiss bartender’s phone number in your pocket. And you will all yell down the crowded street, “This is the BEST FUCKING NEW YEARS EVER!!!” as you stumble into the parking garage and kick your shoes into the backseat of your car.
But it won’t be.
Because one day, more than ten years from now, it will be 10:41 pm on the last night of 2012. You will be sitting in the quiet darkness of your living room, listening to the soft ocean waves that waft out of your son’s white noise machine and slip through the speakers of the baby monitor. It will be 42 degrees outside, and your entire family will be snuggled in their jammies, warm in their beds. You’ll be tucked under a Toy Story blanket, in Victoria’s Secret yoga pants, typing steadily as your second son greets you with tiny kicks inside your belly.
You’ll have spent the early evening with a group of rowdy preschoolers, watching the ball drop on the East Coast while it’s only 9 pm in California. You’ll talk writing and blogging and parenting with women friends, and run your fingers through your son’s hair as he runs by in a tidal wave of small children, hopped up on cookies and goldfish crackers. You’ll eat veggies and ranch dip, steal rice krispie treats from the dessert tray, and laugh about how exhausted you are. Don’t worry. All is not lost. Your nails will still be sparkling with glitter polish, and your hair will be perfectly curled. You’ll still wear shiny lipgloss, and even though you have 21 weeks worth of a growing belly to show off, you’ll pair your maternity leggings with some F-me boots.
As the decibel level in your friend’s living room rises, and the countdown numbers fall at the bottom of the TV screen, a tiny boy in moose jammies will climb into your lap and cover his ears. You’ll press your cheek against his, and whisper to him “It’s ok honey….this is how we say goodbye to our year. It’s going to be really loud when everyone cheers, so I’ll snuggle you up and then we’ll yell Happy New Year!”. And when that ball drops, your sweet son will put his hands on your face and kiss you, and your husband will wrap you both up in a hug, and you will know that this, this, is the Best New Years Ever. This one. With the preschoolers running through a sea of balloons. This one, with your husband and your son falling asleep in the car at 9:30 on the way home. This one, with the distant sound of fireworks playing background music to the steady rhythm of your typing, as Ryan Seacrest drones on in the background. This New Years, with the promise of new beginnings and your belly filled with the hope of new life and new dreams. This night, with your husband passed out in your bed down the hall, and your phone flickering with New Years wishes from the girlfriends you used to dance with….they’ll be tucked in tight with their families on this night too. You’ll lean back on your couch cushions as your neighbors bang pots and pans outside, and you’ll be overwhelmed by how thankful you feel. Thankful that your tiny family is snuggled under blankets, sound asleep, safe and warm and together. New Years Eve will be perfect in 2012, and it will look nothing like it looked back then.
So go put that metallic cardboard hat back on, and make sure that your shirt doesn’t accidentally untie itself on the dance floor. No seriously, take Susie into the bathroom with you right now and have her do a “boob check” to make sure everything is all tucked away. You’ll thank me later, and you won’t feel so silly when they show a picture of you from this night in your wedding video years later. Someday your future husband is going to ask “What the FUCK were you thinking wearing that shirt??” Take a look around and watch how your Roomie’s face lights up when she’s dancing. Look at the clock and realize that there is nowhere you need to be. Enjoy your free drinks, and say thank you to the bartender who you’ll never see again. OK maybe you’ll see him one more time, but I promise that won’t be important ten years from now. Wrap your arms around your best friends, and know that this won’t be the last time you will hold each other up in life. Blast the music and the heater in the car on the long drive home, and sing at the top of your lungs. This might be a New Years to remember, but the best my friend, is truly yet to come. And I promise, the Eve of 2013 is pretty spectacular.
Even without the glitter stillettos.
The 34 year old me