Happy New Year with Dick and Dolly

“Where’s Elvis?!” asked my incredulous nine-year-old, Dolly, realizing the King was not on the list of Dick Clark special moments broadcast in his honor this year. I did not have a ready answer to this.
Seeing my daughter’s musical taste expand to actual music, while gratifying to the parent of a Disney Radio demographic target, was not my original plan for New Year’s Eve. The nasty bug I’d caught a couple of days earlier forced a scramble of last-minute phone calls to relatives who were likely (and rightfully) annoyed that my last-minute party plan had changed again. At the last minute.
So the small house party we planned  NYlistwould wait until the next day, and we’d spend the evening with the kids watching the annual countdown. Nobody minded.
That was fine by me, since the older I get the more I think that it’s underrated as a family opportunity anyway. My old notions of what constituted an acceptable evening, essentially imbibing for the sake of it, are long gone. I suppose grownup responsibilities can wear on you that way.
Somewhere, we started that stretch where the other holidays were so busy that by the end of the year we were just looking to not do any more. New Year’s became a case of benign neglect. It was easy to talk ourselves out of the frenetic nonsense of jamming into whatever too-packed, deafening, way-too-expensive bar (they are almost all like that) everyone was going to, just to say we went out. Other attempts to work in something new never felt right.
So this year we may have finally stumbled onto a good formula. We’d stay up with our own family, and have the full house the next day in a more leisurely fashion. My two older kids were thrilled at getting to stay up so late. We may as well have told them we were getting our own ice cream truck.
Only Dolly made it, though. She dutifully watched the specials, on the rug in her mismatched pajamas, and intently recorded the artist and title of every song she liked (I spelled a lot of names, and downloaded many MP3s the next morning; something I will be glad to skip in ensuing years). My older son fought valiantly, but snored right through the crystal ball drop. Maybe next year.
As we all climbed the stairs trying to not wake our youngest, I thought that it had been good for us that things worked out as they did. It was a nice way to finish winding down from the busy holidays, and see the start of the new year.
But most of all, I liked the idea of my Dolly being the very last person in the world that the late, great Dick Clark turned on to great music.


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