A new year is right around the corner, but I don’t spend the day celebrating the holiday anymore.

Instead, I spend it celebrating my most memorable New Year’s Day — a day I was in the hospital.

That was the day my son was born. Yes, I was graced with a new year’s baby. He came into the world a few hours after midnight, and my world has been better ever since.

This weekend, right on the heels of Christmas, we plan on celebrating Colin’s birthday. It’s always been very important to me that we set a few hours aside during the mad holiday rush to celebrate Colin and only Colin. It’s important to me that he is celebrated and knows how much he is loved. He is an amazing, smart boy with a heart of gold.

His birthday theme this year is the Avengers. I have his cake on order and a balloon reserved. I found Avenger wrapping paper and tenderly wrapped all his birthday presents as I was preparing the Christmas presents.

One good thing for him: By the time Christmas and his birthday are both over, he doesn’t have much left over on his wish list. I think the only item on this year’s list that actually exists is a smartwatch. I told him he’s not quite old enough for one of those yet.

Colin loves having a Jan. 1 birthday. I’ve told him he’ll never have to go to school on his birthday and, if he chooses the right career, he’ll never have to work on his birthday, either (journalism is out the door if he wants that, though).

The Courier covers the new year’s baby every year. The year I was pregnant, it was a running joke with my colleagues and I that it would be me that year. The editor at the time even pulled me into his office before I left on maternity leave to discuss what the plan was for the story in case it was me. With a due date of Jan. 7, I didn’t think it would happen. I had read that most first babies come late, not early.

Lo and behold, New Year’s Eve came and I felt a little funny. I pushed things off for a few hours seeing if it would pass, but it didn’t. Jason and Logan even headed out for a movie. I sat at home, working on a puzzle, and decided to try calling the doctor. He advised me to come out to the hospital for a checkup; yep, I was in labor.

The boys got called out of the movie with about 10 minutes left in the picture. As I was filling out paperwork, a text came in from a coworker: “Baby?”

“How did you know?” I wrote back. “I’m still filling out paperwork and haven’t had a chance to contact anyone.”

“I was kidding,” she responded. “Are you?”

This all happened around 9 p.m. Six hours later, my precious baby boy was laying in my arms as gifts were brought in from several Ottumwa businesses. Eventually, I got a visit from my coworker for the story, and we now have a beautiful picture hanging in our home that they gifted me with at the office. Now when I hear “Auld Lang Syne,” I don’t think of a holiday but of the best gift I’ve ever received.

It was definitely a New Year’s to remember. And to whoever is bestowed with the honor next week, welcome to the club.

Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's features and magazine editor, leading production of the award-winning "Ottumwa Life" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.

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