Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January Lasts for 12 months

Three Januarys ago, Max was born. We thought he would be early. Zoe was so early, we thought Max would at least be born a few weeks before his due date. Or at least a few days. My mother and father in law came to wait with us. We waited. We had a solstice party. We had Christmas. We went downtown for the Pinecone drop in 9 degree weather. Still no Max. We waited. My in-laws had to go home soon. We waited some more. Finally, he was born on the 6th. That first week a January had a whole month in it.

The next three weeks--before I had to return to work--I read Wolf Hall. I read the whole book. The book should last a year. In this case, it lasted only a January. Babies are tiny and sleepy. By the end of January, Max had grown a lifetime. He was big and awake. By the time I went back to teach, it was still January. By then end of January, I had raised a whole son, read the whole of the Henry VIII's checkered past, begun and nearly ended entire classes, done all the press release work I could for my book of poems coming out in a month (in January? Another January month often called March), and watched all the episodes of Chopped on Food TV. By then end of January, January still had another month to go. 

This is Max's 4th January making him 114. He's way old, as he would say. His mom is way old. His dad is way old. His sister, the snow, the sun are way old. If you're feeling old, you should like January, for you can stay old as long as it gets. You can go to the doctor and get all the follow-up tests and scans and blooddraws completed to guarantee you will live until the end of time, or, at least, until the end of January. You can take time to proofread whatever books may or may not be forthcoming because they are due to be released in another January and you may not make it that long but for the time being the words will be double-checked and the white space and the squiggly lines too because January gives you enough time to look for even the typos (hear, here) you meant to make. January is long enough to be halfway through a semester and ninety percent done with the 7 year review that began just 7 days ago. It is long enough for you to read Hillary Mantel's next book. It is long enough to read all of Bill Carter's nonfiction. It's long enough to read 6 theses, 428 poems, 124 essays, and one hundred million emails. It is long enough for the good news to come and for the good news to go and the fact that you sent that book out a year ago and still haven't heard means really it's only been a month and you shouldn't be so impatient. It is long enough for your daughter to lose all her teeth and grow new ones like some magic, toothy Chia Pet. It is long enough for winter to have come and gone, spring to have come and gone and winter to have returned. It's long enough for Chopped re-runs to have re-run their whole Chopped Champions run. It's long enough for Hillary Mantel to write another 780 page book about Henry the VIII who is probably still alive because he was born in January and January never ends. 

1 comment:

Lisa B. said...

I just plain love this. Sometime we will have to talk about January birthdays. I have three (3) kids born in January (two in December), and January, I do agree with you, does have a particularly spectacular form of duration.