Dear January,

Hey you! I’ve been thinking about you, you know? I know, I know, I have to wait just a little bit longer until I see you, but I am just so excited. I love you, January, and I can not stop thinking about you. If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

I started thinking about you in May. It felt like you had just left and all of a sudden it was “May-nia”.  This year was rough. In addition to the usual madness of end of school, Mother’s Day, and everyone in the world having a birthday (what goes on in July/August, January?) we had a First Communion and a Fifth Grade graduation. Both were wonderful, happy and well deserved celebrations for Ryan and Sean. And both were incredibly exhausting.

When Summer came, I couldn’t get you off my mind. January, it was so hot. For three months, I felt like an egg on a skillet.  At the end of July, it got so bad that I started to soak washcloths with SeaBreeze and put them in the freezer. At the end of the day, I would lie on the couch - or the floor - and put them on my forehead or my neck. Ok, I can’t lie to you, January, they were in my bra. And when I started to cool down, ever so slightly, I would think of you. As much as I tried to fight the thoughts before we headed out to ANOTHER cookout, I just couldn’t stop the memories. Don’t blush but I was thinking about that time, January. You remember and don’t say you don’t. That time when we did absolutely nothing. That was really special to me, January.

September is a sly one, isn’t she? She brings the promise of cooler weather and back to school normalcy and she delivers neither.  I was still wearing sweat saturated tired summer clothes and longing for crispness. And you know what else September brings? A boat load of papers. Permission slips, sign up sheets, soccer schedules, curriculum night DNA testing samples. Papers. Papers. So many papers. You don’t do me that way, January, and I dig that about you.  People don’t think of you as green, my love, but you are certainly paperless.

After September, I watch my home slip away from me. January, it becomes this haunted, harvest, holy, Elf on the Shelf monstrosity. There’s pumpkins and cranberries and evergreen and white lights everywhere. I wish I wasn’t so devoted to order, January, but I undeniably am.  I want my boys to enjoy the spirit of each season in my house, but in all honesty, the pervasive spirit is one of: “You’d better enjoy this crap because my toes are permanently curled thanks to this constant clutter.”  

AND THEN, we add Halloween candy to that mess. If my kids devoured the candy, I’d be thrilled. Unfortunately, I have unknowingly raised Halloween birds- pecking at candy and ever so slowly watching shitty unwantable candy reproduce in my pantry. I don’t like Laffy Taffy, January, so why did I eat it?

November has the right attitude: focus on gratitude. And that lasts for like a day. And then the focus shifts to, “ 36 more shopping days until Christmas?? Holy Hell!!”. I wish October would remind me next year that November is going to ask for a lot of canned food. We think of the hungry and homeless, you know? January, my heart is in the right place, but I feel bad when I give the hungry and homeless a can of artichokes that was intended for the sophisticated salad I was supposed to make in August and the pumpkin that I didn’t use for the pumpkin chocolate chip bread that I was supposed to make. I think when given the choice of canned artichokes or pumpkin filling, the hungry will stay hungry.

I have to mail this love letter now, January. I know what is coming. Tonight is the eve of Thanksgiving week. The true kick off of the holiday season. The boys are off from school. Thanksgiving is Thursday. Next is Black Friday. We’ll be decorating in the interim to Cyber Monday.

December will come like a wound incurred while shaving. I was comfortable, I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and WHOA! That hurt! I didn’t see that coming! Now that water is hitting the wound and DAMNIT! Stop. The. Pain.

December/ Advent/ Christmas is a precious and sacred season for me.  I will write more about this soon. But January, my love, why is your sister December so gosh darned WILD? I’m decorating and shopping and wrapping and giving. I’m receiving and toasting and partying and singing. I’m chasing perfect and special and sacred and sanity. There’s an Elf on the Shelf and a mystery that needs to be upheld lest the Polar Express run straight through your house and kill you! The soundtrack of my days is like a Christmas Carol taken by Trans Siberian Orchestra that started out beautiful and became kind of scary. My heart feels like someone riding space mountain screaming along, blissful but extremely aware of being out of control, forcing yourself to scream to your co-riders, “I Love my liiiiiffffe!” And my face is just like those pictures you see of people plunging into the water on a log flume where it is hard to tell if they are ecstatic or terrified.

December brings precious gifts, but at great personal cost, January. You don’t require that kind of toll be paid. I know we’ve fought in the past. You’re cold. You’re gray. I don’t want to fight about that again, dear January. I have come to love you for who you are. What makes me happiest is I feel you love me for who I am. No bells. No whistles. I feel thankful for the gifts you give: a fresh start and an empty calendar that allows me to sit and say, “I love my life” without screaming or crying. January, you bring me home and you let me stay home, and I love that. To love that is the essence of true happiness.

Can’t wait to see you. Wish me luck until then.