Reclaiming January

I’m a January-girl.

But we limped into it this year, taking our turns to puke, so it has taken me some time to start to savour January – the reflection it prompts, the reminder to choose how we live, the stunning winter trees.  I’m enjoying how the world looks and I’m settling on my word for the year, which I’ll write about soon.

I am drawn to what is on the other side of the things we often dismiss, or wrestle with. The things that, at first glance, are dark or cold, depressing, insignificant or small. Is there beauty or light? Room to breathe? Stories worth paying attention to? Bravery? What’s on the other side of the places or seasons we try to avoid or run from?

I love this post by Sarah Bessey about how the part of her that always feels like it doesn’t fit in church finds God in the wind. “I needed to be a bit free, a bit cold, a bit wild and lonely.” Yes. I’m a January-girl. Put away the decorations, feel the wind in your face.

January, for us, is Nana Graham month. She graced this world from January 1923 to January 2011.



I loved it when I found out our youngest girl was going to be a January baby – both because I love the month and because it reclaims the sadness a bit.

Imogen Elizabeth has just turned 2. Elizabeth for Nana. She was nearly Lily, Eliza or Beth. (If I had been able to persuade my husband, she’d have been Betty).

Imogen’s our January-girl. At the start of her one wild and precious life.  She’ll hear stories, no doubt, of what Nana did with hers.

They share a month, and maybe birthdays tempt us to wax lyrical, but it seems they share a lot more: A hearty laugh. Strong preferences. Charm. A fine head of hair. A love of handbags and a good breakfast. They share a need for everyone in the family to have their coats on, a need to fuss.

Imogen, already, is a kind of busybody, a “go-getter”, a charming little boss-lady. Despite our best efforts she rules the roost.

It’s January and I always think of Nana Betty ruling the roost from her own chair, until the last.

She would have loved this girl with the wild blonde curls, the big blue eyes, the small determined mouth and chin. Imogen would have loved unpacking her handbag.



I’m drawn to what’s on the other side of things. It’s January. For me that means being ‘frostbit’ and cosy, it means birthdays and last-days, it means honouring my Elizabeths – space for a favourite woman who went before me and a fierce, quirky little one just starting out.



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