I recall a quote, used everywhere it seems, that January is the Sunday month of the year. Where we live the weather becomes more gray than sunny, and the snow isn’t quite as exciting or welcome as in December. This is a tough month for disappointment, too. Shoulders girded, body braced, we of the upper latitudes plow forward to survive the dismal weeks of January. The last thing any of us need is outside disappointments or frustrations.
I was married. I was. Not the other person. And I had two little children. It was January, and he had overdrawn our bank account once again. I didn’t realize that as fast as I wrote checks for bills he went to the bank and took out the cash. Checks bounced. We had overdrafts and poverty. And my little boy had a birthday coming up, and this man, who was supposed to be a responsible father had spent all our money.
I tried to sew up a little pair of brown pants made of corduroy but they turned out to be too short. I had some remnants left and had to turn the fabric the opposite direction to lengthen and make wearable his little birthday present. That was all I had to give him that year. It was a painful and memorable January.
Much has changed since then, life is stable, the ex-husband a bad memory and that little boy is turning 30 with plenty of clothes.
I didn’t share this tale to illicit a pity-party. Part of my motivation is that it is indeed January, and my boy is indeed turning 30. The other reason is how unwelcome impediments, and other barriers crop up constantly. And they appear at the worst times, times when we feel we can’t handle another disaster. And it feels to me that the first of the year is the toughest time to cope with problems and losses.
In terms of my book title, River of January, remember the name is translated from the Portuguese Rio de Janiero. That was the place Chum met Helen, and where they subsequently fell in love. As I write, I see that the high today in Rio will be 91 degrees. I wonder, are problems easier to handle when January is a summer month?
Could I have kept my little boy in shorter pants?