Your Holiday ‘Letter’ is Only Four Sentences Long.
I fully admit arrogance when I tell you I’ve sent end of year letters for most years of the past decade, and they’re typically well received, perhaps even looked forward to. Not by everyone, but those in similar stages of life (having been married for a decade or three, deep in the throes of the highs and lows of parenthood, and one or both adults fully steeped in momentum phase of a career) tend to appreciate them. I work hard to strike a balance of boastfulness (Thing one excelled in debate this year! Thing two continues to enjoy soccer and ski racing! Husband continues to be employed! We took lots of great trips!) and self-deprecation of our family (My kids stink! They are so sassy! I am a lazy unemployed mom! The only reason we’re able to take great trips is because my husband travels for work WAYYY too much and amasses frequent flier miles!). They’re a pretty solid reflection of this blog, I guess. Not for everyone. A little too honest. Loved by a small, devoted following, yet maligned by many (particularly those I live with).
Last year there was no letter or even a card. Most likely because we broke a many years long tradition of having our photos taken, usually in a park surrounded by beautiful Minnesota fall foliage; and I wasn’t compelled to sit down and obsess over the perfect template to express our perfect lives and perfectly address and stamp them and send them on their way to our fellow perfect friends and families. And sending a letter without a card seemed a little too unconventional, even for yours truly.
This year, we again missed the boat on having our photos taken. It’s a fact that stirs up a fair amount of guilt in me, because the guy that always took our pictures is old school. He’s probably at least 65 years old and still has a studio, which he had to relocate a few years back so his rent would be lower. The lion’s share of his income results from selling prints, and they’re really damn expensive. I’m talking out of my ass here, per usual, because I don’t really know the ins and outs of modern photographers, but he seems like a dying breed; and we’re doing our part to ensure his extinction. Thus my guilt.
Going two years without sending anything was out of the question even for me, the christened Christmas hater who wants a fake tree, so I sat down to put together a card. I spent about a fourth of the time I historically would choosing photos (even when we had a professional portrait, I always included some of my favorite snap shots from the year) and putting together a card. Partly because I seem to take fewer photos with each passing year (dumb), and partly because my give a shit meter was just barely off zero.
BUT, by golly, I put a card together. And, I sat down to put together a letter. Even just a brief one that could be printed on the back.
If you’re on my mailing list, your card will be in today’s mail. The letter will not, because I simply couldn’t get it done. I lacked the attention span and energy to try and portray 2018 as anything less than a shitshow. And, I feel guilty about it, because the year did give me a lot to be thankful for. My family is here. We are healthy. We traveled extensively. We have everything we need and a whole lot more.
The heavy things felt extra heavy this year. Whether that’s an indicator of the state of the world or my state of mind isn’t something we need to discuss. Because, let’s face it, the answer is pretty obvious.
While this post has a pretty damn downtrodden feel to it, I give thanks for being in a place in life where I don’t have to paint everything in rosy shades. And people who meet me where I am, day after whiny day. Friends and family who are ok with ‘good enough.’ Because when I look back at my card, I realize I had photos that would’ve been better if I’d spent a little more time looking. And when I plugged in ‘holt’ to the place where one is to put their family name, I apparently should have had the caps lock on, because it’s lower case in the midst of a line that’s all upper case. It looks super damn silly.
But ya know what? I don’t care. It’s good enough. And so am I and so are you. Here’s to being here. And all the good and bad times that 2019 will inevitably bring. Huge thanks to those who ride the roller coaster with me. I’m grateful.