JANUARY 1, 2017
Many people have had the good luck to have been born on Jan. 1. It’s not such a big deal except that there’s always the chance the attending OB is quite possibly a little hung over and really does not want to be there just then, and I can’t blame him/her. I can think of a lot of other places I’d rather be on The Morning After but hey, they took an oath.
Do all babies born on the year’s first day grow up being excited because of all the birthday parties they get to have? Me too. It took me far too many years to admit to myself that the parties the night before and the day after the ringing in of the New Year were not for me. Not a one of them. I did wonder along about age 6 as to why everyone was happily celebrating and I didn’t get a cake at any of those adult parties, although I did get one at my boring kids’ party. The day I finally discovered the New Year’s Day parties were actually not all for me but for a date on a new calendar, and also for a bunch of whacked out loud adults (one who actually threw up into the vegetable keeper in my parents’ refrigerator and then shut the door and walked away) made my heart freeze in my chest and my eyes pop from my head exactly the same way as when around the age of 7 I realized there was no Santa Clause. It’s what’s called a “rude awakening.”
But, and I know others out there have experienced this, those of us born on Jan. 1 can often get piles of secretly and rapidly rewrapped gifts that a week before were new Christmas presents for various family members. Now lest you all think I was a greedy kid, let’s admit that all kids are greedy when it comes to birthday gifts, and so I would be dismayed to get, oh let’s say a rather hastily and obviously rewrapped “birthday” gift of soap on a rope with someone else’s initials carved into it. Yeah, they thought I’d never notice. Or maybe I’d get a gigantic flannel nightgown designed for let’s say someone’s seriously obese grandmother who didn’t want the huge floral-splashed sack either, and so hastily rewrapped it for “little Elsie. She loves everything. She won’t notice.” Or, worst of all I’d get hastily rewrapped bubble bath. One kind that has so stuck in my mind were gelatinous purple round globs that were stuck so hard in the jar they had to be pried out with a screwdriver. I’d toss them into the bath water, and I won’t tell you what they resembled floating there, swelling, bobbing up and down like purple inner organ parts before turning into hideous science-fiction slimy purple bath bubbles and water stains. The odor of them has so remained with me that if today I get a whiff of it, the memories flood back and I find myself frantically looking around for a handy empty receptacle. I know someone always gave them to my WSM for Christmas and she in turn hastily rewrapped them for my birthday.
But today, I love not celebrating my Jan. 1 date. The people who really matter sent lovely sentiments, I don’t have to fake liking grody gifts, in fact I insist on no gifts, and my life is peaceful and happy. One family group (plus others) who lives quite near dialed me at 12:03 this morning and screamed HAPPY NEW YEAR!!, and bellowed the Happy Birthday song to me and I wept and laughed and it was truly the best gift I’ve ever gotten or ever could. I wish you a happy and joy filled 2017 from one lucky old broad to all of you reading this.