I don’t like January. But in these cold, dark, back-to-business days after the holidays, I find myself falling back on something my mother taught me: I don’t have to like it. Which, oddly enough, helps, somehow.
My family likes to tease my mom about things she used to say when my brother and sister and I were growing up. Even my son, Reeve, (who obviously wasn’t there back in the day) gets it: “You know what Nonna would say,” he said to me once as I was complaining about something trivial. “Get over it.”
Born in the midst of the Great Depression—to eastern-European immigrants who were made of tough stuff—my mom’s now famous take on many things when we were kids was a kinder/gentler variation on “Oh, don’t be such a baby.” This philosophy showed up in all aspects of family life: at the dinner table (“If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it—but that’s what we’re having.”); on camping trips (“A little ______ [take your pick: humidity/heat/mosquito bite/dirt-bug-dog drool in your food/rain/cramped family “togetherness” in the camper in the rain] never hurt anyone.”); regarding chores and schoolwork (“It won’t take long to clean your room/do your homework. Just do it and get it over with.”) . . .
Don’t waste time complaining; just get going.
We may have complained (under our breaths, of course) back then, but over the years I’ve seen how helpful—and practical—it was, this confidence Mama had (still has) in our capability. We grew up knowing we could deal with these things, if for no other reason than the alternative just wasn’t an option.
So I hate January? Sure, fine. That’s OK. I don’t have to like it. February’s on the way, and, meanwhile, I’ll deal.
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