January: a love letter

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Oh boy, where to begin.

First, I had a great Christmas and hope you did, too. But honestly, I can’t wait to get on to January.

When I was growing up in northern Illinois, January was not an exciting month. The best thing about January was the possibility of weather conditions bitterly cold and/or snowy enough to result in a day off school. Granted, in college, I was always excited to get back to campus after winter break. But after college, January was just a dark, blah, festivity-free month.

Until I met Pat.

It’s a long story, but the “official” start of our relationship was on New Year’s Eve as we rang in 2002. Suddenly, January was alive with that heady new relationship glow. That zing up your spine when you see the person. That slightly drunken feeling when you think about them. That drunken feeling when you’re WITH them. (For Pat and me, that drunken feeling wasn’t just emotional. There was a LOT of booze consumed that first month.)

Fast forward three years. Pat and I got engaged just before Christmas in 2003. And in January 2004, we packed up my creaky “power-nothing” Toyota Camry and drove out of snowy Chicago on a new adventure: moving to North Carolina. After an ice storm trapped us in Lexington, Kentucky for two days, we arrived in Durham.

We rented a small house in an older neighborhood and shared the one car. It was our first time living together, in a city where we didn’t know a soul. It was exhilarating, and it was cozy: shopping for a shower curtain, making pancakes, finding new favorite restaurants (RIP, Pizza Palace). Everything was new. Everything was special.

Then five years ago, January became even more important. We spent New Year’s Eve – the 7th anniversary of us getting together – in the labor and delivery ward of Durham Regional Hospital. I was induced at 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day, and at 10:38 that night, Noah (who was already ten days overdue) was born via C-section, literally kicking and screaming.

All of these are great reasons to celebrate in January. But the reason I love January the most is because in our house, once January 1 is over, there is NOTHING to celebrate.

January is a wide-open calendar month. Sure, there is the occasional birthday party or field trip, but for the most part, people have celebration fatigue and just want to relax. Stay warm. Recover from the sugar- and present- and alcohol- overload of December.

Then there’s the whole “fresh start” thing. I love the clean slate, new beginnings mindset that comes with the first month of the new year. I need at least the first week of January to formulate a full year of resolutions, but I’m pretty sure I know my resolution for this month (I’ll cover that in my next post).

Sure, I still have a few loose ends to tie up from December (if I don’t get my cards sent out soon, the “Happy Holidays” greeting is going to apply more to Easter and Passover than the winter holidays), but they’re not stressing me out. I’m just going to savor the quiet, relaxing month that is quickly becoming my favorite one of the year.

Love you, January.