I love a good Christmas letter. I especially like the typewritten ones that come late, far too late, after everyone but the laziest of decorators has socked away the ornaments and consigned the Christmas tree to the basement or the woodpile or wherever it is that spent trees go.
I like to receive evidence of a well-considered year. A year examined not from within its confines, but from the far side of a tunnel of New Year's Days. At that distance, folks tend to abandon reportage and get on with the true business of Christmas letters, which is making stuff up.
So I'm early. And lazy. And tragically allergic to the post-compositional liturgy of the Christmas letter, which must properly include a succession of irritants like envelopes and post offices.
But here goes.
2013 was a slow paddle. It's true that the year encompassed -was devoured by- one of life's signal transformations. I got pregnant. I had a kid. I did the thing that is supposed to alter you irrevocably, send every last one of your cells through a giant spin cycle, splatter your marrow with the red paint that marks you as a mother.
But, as I really should have known by now, I'm not a Transformation kind of gal. Life kept going. I kept going. And at the end of the day -by which I mean the end of the year, but also the end of a process that was supposed to nuke me straight into New Womanhood- I don't feel any different. I want the same things; I have the same strengths and weaknesses; I haven't become selfless or obsessional in the way of Archetypal Mothers.
This is both gratifying and sad.
Maybe the whole thing will snake around to bite me later, or grow over me slowly, like bread mold. But maybe not; maybe we are who we are, children or no, and I should stop examining myself for the stigmata of personal change and get down to the business of making sure my child stays alive.
What else from 2013? Concerts. Rubbing, often painfully, up against the business of music. Crying over things I can't change, like death and falling and people who forget. Some more writing. And, very, very briefly, the sea.
A good year. As every year is, in its way. As if it needed me to tell it.