Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Holidays and Birthdays...Not Perfect Together

Mom and Me on the front page of Courier Post
When the clock strikes twelve this Thursday, the days that filled 2015, break into fine particles that fill the inside of an internal Etch-A-Sketch. And then we shake it clean. Wipe it out. Now, we get to turn the knobs and design 2016. We have 365 days to thrive or screw it up. Usually both. But that's okay because in reality, New Years Day is nothing more than one big do-over.

It's a day when we come to the realization that over the holidays (which started in November), we ate too much, we drank too much, we spent too much, we slept too little. In short, we are exhausted, broke, hungover and fat. Happy New Years.

And, to the select lucky people like me, it's also Happy Birthday! Many years ago, way before the force was with us, I was born at three minutes after midnight on January 1. Since I was the first born in the county, prizes were awarded, newspapers gathered and a celebrity was born...although my 15 minutes ended on January 2. And, since those three minutes cost my father a tax deduction from the previous year, he reminded me annually that I owed him $550.

Holidays and birthdays. Oil and water. Spanx and big thighs. Actually, I don't believe that all birthdays on a holiday are difficult. I think it would be really cool to blow out birthday candles on the Fourth of July when parades and fireworks are happening all over the country. Even Easter wouldn't be bad when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with dyed eggs and chocolate bunnies. But New Year's Day has a weight to it that is sometimes hard to carry into the new year.

Even as a child, after the family gathered around the roast pork on the New Year's table, my mother would finally carry out the Italian Rum birthday cake, candles burning, face beaming, I remember aunts saying, "Oh, none for me Jo, I made a resolution to lose weight." January 1 is the first day of resolutions. A January 5th birthday would probably have more people eating cake. (This may also be where my life long battle with weight started as I was determined that my mom would not be stuck with left over birthday cake by family members on a four day diet. And I don't even like Italian Rum cake!)

There is also the issues of a birthday gift seven days after the biggest gift giving day of the year! On our first year as a married couple, my then husband made the mistake of pointing to the pile under the tree on Christmas Eve and saying "pick which one you want to be your birthday present and I will put it away till next week." That only happened once.

But the truth is, by this time of year, most people have empty pockets and smoking credit cards, and the thought of purchasing one more gift can be a little over whelming. At least I feel that way. Even today, I feel bad-actually guilty- that my kids have to buy one more gift after the generous Christmas Eve swap.

It is more than enough for me that my sister cooks a lovely New Year's Day/Birthday dinner and my sons and "daughters" will gather around the table to celebrate. Especially this year, with my favorite leftover from 2015, my grandson Lucas! He makes everyday a reason to celebrate!

On January 1, my birthday, I will take down the tree and all the decorations. After the month long glow of white lights and favorite ornaments, baking, cooking and large gatherings, the house will seem stark for a while. The holidays are officially over and a new year begins. But it's all good. As you get older, even if it is on a holiday, each birthday is appreciated. Each new year is a gift in itself!

I actually look forward to 2016! After bouncing around in the beginning of 2015, I found a job that excites me. One I look forward to growing with this coming year. Along with an Autumn wedding and the continual daily wonder of Lucas, this new year holds promise.

So, on the eve of a brand new year, and with the approach of another birthday, I will celebrate by having an early dinner with friends, raise my glass to 2016, and slip into 10:00. I've been here before. I fall asleep confident that the ball will drop. And as long as it's not on my head, I don't need to see it.

Happy New Year's!


  1. Early Happy Birthday Jody, I remember the day you were born! And a special gift this year to me was finding you and your sister on fb around the holidays. Oh yea and Happy New Year! Love and kisses, Shirley

  2. Thank you Shirley! It was lovely touching base once again. Have a great 2016