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Parental New Year

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Every once in a while life stops being process and everything comes into still focus, like a telescope trained on a tableau. Even though I am 45 and have had children for 19 1/2 years (!!!), inside I still usually feel like a kid, my self-image stuck at about 21, my view of life looking forward as if the REALLY good stuff still lies ahead, although I will be fortunate indeed if I am not yet past my actuarial midpoint.

So last night was New Year’s Eve – that is one night out of the year when I have usually, you know, DONE something. I DJ’d one party or another all through the ’80s, DJ’d one club or another through most of the ’90s – even last year the two older kids were over at their mother’s and the then-3-year-old fell asleep remarkably early so we were able to put the little TV in the big bathroom, grab the champagne, and welcome in the new year from the jacuzzi, which seemed jaunty, decadent and memorably self-indulgent.

But this year my son had a small party at our house up in his semi-detached room above the garage – teenage girls were coming and going all night – which we had to at least nominally supervise, Lily was wide awake and eager to hang out with us, AND we have an infant less than three weeks old. I have never felt more parental.

I ran out to Wal-Mart and grabbed a bunch of cheap DVD’s – most for $5.50 – but even the relatively new, double-DVD set of Die Another Day was on sale for $14.00. After Lily’s misgivings about it being a scary movie – she’s in that phase now – we all enjoyed the latest Bond epic quite a bit, in fact it’s the best one I can remember seeing since the Sean Connery days. Brosnan is less carefree and more believable as an aging (but not ridiculously superannuated like the later Roger Moore or encore Connery days) agent on a mission to get personal revenge against a North Korean terrorist/spy AND save the world.

Though the effects and settings are extraordinary throughout, the conflicts and human relationships generate some real traction this time and, unlike the typical Bond flick, feel much less like a preordained lark. Though over two hours long, Die Another Day easily held our attention until the climactic laser-tag battle for the world at the end. And Halle Berry is the most active, competent, and sexy Bond girl ever. She rocks HARD.

By the end of the movie it was around 11 and we were all a bit antsy. I tossed in The Matrix Reloaded, but after about 20 minutes of robotic speech, Keanu/Carrie-Anne serious making out, and a pretty cool tribal ritualistic dance scene, it was time to move on.

Dawn retired to our room with the baby to try to get him to sleep. I went up to Lily’s room to watch The Little Mermaid 2 with her – lively freaking bunch we were. By the time it occurred to me to look at he clock, it was 12:20. I went to see what Dawn and Alex were up to, and she being both asleep and VERY easily startled (she jumps when someone farts at a neighbor’s house), had one of her eyes-bulging-out, gasping-for-air episodes when I quietly and peaceably peered down at her in an effort to ascertain her status vis-a-vis consciousness.

It was at that moment I realized I am no longer 21, footloose and fancy free, and that my time is no longer my own, nor my life for that matter. In the big picture this is all pretty great and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but the concrete REALITY of my condition was stark nonetheless.

I returned to The Little Mermaid 2 with Lily – centered upon Ariel’s paranoia that her 12 year-old daughter would be drawn to the sea and mortal danger in the form of Ursula the Sea Witch’s much thinner sister – which we both enjoyed more than was reasonable to expect and certainly more than The Matrix Reloaded. Then we went to sleep.

How’s that for a kickass night of wild monkey partying? Dawn and I are finally going to see The Return of the King tonight with some babysitting assistance from my indulgent parents, and later on, big sister.

Happy New Year! What did you do last night?

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    I went to bed at 9:00 with both my kids, while my husband stayed up to watch science fiction.

    Woohoo!

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    i know exactly what you’re talking about eric…a few years back i got a call out of the blue from somebody i’d gone to high school with. it was for our 20th year reunion. i shot the shit with her for well over an hour.

    later that night i got to thinking…when it hit me. twenty years. how the hell did that happen?!!!