Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Lament of the New Year's Baby

I honestly do not know what it is about New Year's that gets me in this mood every year. I get weepy and emotional. At the stroke of midnight with each new year, I cry. When I hear Auld Lang Syne, I cry. I have theories as to why this happens, but no definite answers.
I can think of only one person who may read this who actually remembers my mother. All of the others have no idea what they are missing out on. And I don't know how many realize that I am a New Year's Baby,but I am. So on New Year's Eve, each and every year, I miss Mom. Every year, I would get birthday gifts held over from Christmas, and they would come wrapped in Christmas paper. Not a big deal as an adult, but as a kid, this took my big day and lumped it with Christmas, as if my birthday, aside from being a national holiday, were not special at all. I could never have a birthday party, as all of my little friends were at sitters' houses while their parents got drunk. And on New Year's Day, which is actually my birthday, everyone was hung over. But there was one who never forgot. Who would wrap my gifts in the brightest birthday paper she could find, complete with big pink bows. And my sisters never knew, but I got two cakes each year. At the strike of midnight, as we were sitting in pajamas watching Dick Clark, as everyone on Times Square was kissing and singing Auld Lang Syne, Mom would be belting out "Happy Birthday" as the flames on the candles flickered. And we would eat the cake and ice cream while I opened the heap of gifts from my parents. The next day, I would sleep in from my late night, and wake up to a get-together with all of my grown-up siblings, complete with the second cake.
I haven't celebrated my birthday in God-Knows-when. It is just another day, which happens to fall on a holiday that everyone celebrates. This doesn't bother me in the slightest bit, because the biggest, most lavish fete could not hold a candle to the late-night private parties between mother and daughter, as we celebrated the time she brought me into the world. As a mother, I see the appropriateness of that. It truly was our moment.
So this year, like always, I will stay home and watch Dick Clark in my pajamas. As they count down, I will start to get misty-eyed. I will remember all of the events of the past year like a kaleidoscope of images, some of them completely life-altering, and I will secretly make a little birthday wish that all will be better for us in the next year. And as the Ball touches down, and John says "Happy Birthday" instead of the normal "Happy New Year", the tears will be flowing and I will be thinking of the woman who brought me into this world, and the vast and unfillable void she left in my life the day she died.

No comments: