Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Christmas Letter


I’ve had a lot of things knocking around in my head this morning that led me to the conclusion that I shouldn’t let my last post be the final one of the year. 
What got it all started was an article in the New York Times about divorce being the last taboo on Facebook. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/28/fashion/facebook-last-taboo-the-unhappy-marriage.html?_r=0
 Now I’m definitely not contemplating divorce, but in that last post I did do something that nice girls usually don’t do, I aired a bit of dirty linen.  My husband and I occasionally have a spat.  Mind you, they are not nearly as frequent as they were when we were younger and there were a lot more stressors, but sometimes, just sometimes, we get on each other’s nerves and one or the other of us blows up.  The package wrapping incident was one of those, and one that probably didn’t deserve as much ink as it got…and is still getting…but for some reason sometimes something is just all it takes to cause a blow up.  A stupid piece of tape was that something that particular day.
But, as we were riding to church today, I was thinking about what a really great year we’ve had, and feeling all happy about virtually every month of the year, and it dawned on me…actually during the service…mea culpa…that I don’t send those year-end Christmas letters out with our cards anymore.
During the holidays I’ve been sorting through all our Christmases past in preparing a scrapbook, and have really enjoyed looking at all the cards and letters and group photos of us in various stages of posed perfection and candid imperfection during the Christmases beginning with our first one together in 1966.  Somewhere along the way, as our card list got longer, I started sending out summaries of the year that I had copied at Kinkos rather than hand-writing notes.  Then I began seeing letters to Ann Landers and Dear Abby ridiculing the practice and at some point, probably after my daughters were old enough to be sending their own cards, I quit writing them.
Those letters were always a sanitized version of our life…much like the posts on Facebook.  The darker stuff remained in the shadows, but the kids accomplishments, and a few of our own, were fun to share, and I tried to make them funny and clever, but I’m sure they made some friends want to gag…I’m sure we seemed way more perfect than we actually were. 
We only get one Christmas letter every year that seems to approximate reality, and the guy that writes it may or may not be trying to be humorous, but if his kids are unemployed or struggling with demons, he mentions that along with the good news.  He’s a brave soul…
What I missed this year was that in not compiling that letter, I had lost sight of the fact of just how wonderful the year really was.
I got to be with Sarah and Ned for the birth of Baby Beau…our seventh and last grandchild, and a long awaited second granddaughter to boot!   I had some precious time spent with Molly and her family at Groton while Robert was not well and needed family nearby.  I had a fabulous trip of a lifetime to New York City with Katie and Becket.  I got to see Walker III discover the joy of communicating over the internet with his new iphone and Facebook account... I honestly never knew he had so much to say!  We had time to spend having fun with out of town friends at football games and at the beach and at the lake.  I had the pleasure of teaching about forty women to play Mah Jongg, giving them a new set of skills and a new set of friends in the process.  I learned to operate in a recording studio and take great delight in reading on the radio once a week and recording novels in between time.  Walker got to see the fruits of his efforts in quail habitat restoration yield more coveys of quail.  Our home garden was a bit of a bust due to weather issues, but you know what, the Farmer’s Market had plenty for everyone.  It was a very good year, and I needed to write about it to appreciate just how good it was. Writing seems to be what I do...
Blessings,
Janie