One of my projects for today is to start sending out Christmas cards. For many years now I've done the photo cards along with a short Christmas letter. I always include my blog address, because, really, our lives are an open book. If people are really interested in what is happening in SmallWorld, they can read my blog, visit me on Facebook, send me an email, pick up the phone, or even visit.
How can a year be summed up in one measly letter? There's always too much between the lines that's left out and makes one's life seem like event upon event, rather than a carpet of joys and disappointments, daily thankfulness and occasional apathy. Big struggles. Little victories. Why do we sum a year up in awards won and trips taken?
I am guilty. My Christmas cards this year are short and to the point: a photo of each person with 4 bullet points summing up a whole person in 10 words or less. Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, American Heritage Girls. Hiking Philmont, climbing trees, dancing. I designed the cards in about 15 minutes on Shutterfly.
Still, though, in spite of the superficiality of Christmas cards, I am happy to send them, and happy to receive them. I think about each person as I address the envelope, remembering them from different parts of my life. Childhood friends, college friends, Ohio and Iowa friends, distant family, Tennessee friends. I love getting picture cards in the mail, marveling over how the children have grown over the course of a year. As have mine. Pondering the passage of time and frightened a bit at the rapidity with which this season of life progresses.
The card above is from Christmast of 2000, probably the only year I've ever sent cards after Christmas. I was waiting for Duncan to be born, so that I could send out Christmas cards and a birth announcement in one fell swoop. I never imagined he would actually be born on Christmas Day and then spend almost a week in the NICU. How do you say, in a Christmas card, that you just went through one of the most terrifying experiences in your life? Instead, you write the birth date, his weight (10 lbs--wow!), and that he is the best Christmas present ever.
Someday, perhaps, I'll be like my 88-year-old Uncle Max. I received an email from him last week saying, "Hello Everyone: A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL. I'm doing emails rather than cards so hope this reaches all of you. Love you Max."
Until then, I'll be addressing envelopes and running to the post office for more stamps. At least this year, anyway.