Today, January sixth, is both my mother’s and my father’s birthday. Together, they are one hundred and sixty-one years old. (They share a birthday, yet are seven years apart.) We have nothing planned to celebrate; I think the recent soiree at our house on Monday will essentially have served that purpose. I do think mom’s planning on the two of them going out to a good supper at one of Saratoga’s finer restaurants – but that will likely be tomorrow, as she puts in a full day of work today. I wish I had something special for them, but alas, I don’t. I am going to give each some comfy new pairs of socks. Really, who doesn’t like new socks? And at their age, it’s highly likely that they haven’t been out to purchase any in quite a while. My mother seems to have quit buying new clothes a few decades ago… And my father’s new acquisitions depend upon my mother taking up the charge. So it’s likely neither’s had new socks in quite a while. Although it might seem I’m ‘under-gifting’ them, I believe my modest gifts will be thoroughly enjoyed.
Today is also Epiphany, or the day when the three wise men finally reached the manger and gave baby Jesus their gifts. I’ve always thought this day made much more sense as a gift-giving holiday than the date we celebrate. It’s hard for us Americans to understand that much of the Christian world is celebrating Christmas today. In our family, partly because of mom and dad’s birthday – brother Andrew’s is nearby New Year’s Eve as well – we didn’t think of the season as being completed until this day. In a purely secular way we simply thought of this as the logical conclusion to the season. I like that too. Coming to a screeching halt with the holiday – either the 26th or January 2nd – feels much too abrupt for me. I like to coast down easy after all of it… and I can take down my tree and decorations with much less frustration and a better sense of closure and satisfaction when I do so upon full completion of the anniversary of the events we purport to celebrate. Somehow, it makes me feel in better step with the rest of the world. My life just breathes better when I wait til this day to remove the festive red and green. Good-bye Christmas, thank you for all the spirit you helped us to express. Good-bye New Year’s Day, thank you for restoring our sense of hope.
Happy birthday, my beloved parents. Thank you for all that you’ve helped me to be. I wouldn’t be right here, right now if it weren’t for you. Thanks for teaching me about art, music, nature and everything in between. I love you both so much.