Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sad Faces and Newsletters

It's the week before Christmas, which means I've stopped in between each word of this sentence to add something else to my grocery list.  A forgotten ingredient for the chili we're bringing to Crisler Christmas this Saturday, a can of frosting for Atticus's Polar Express party next week, ground ginger because Adelaide reminded me we haven't made any kind of gingerbread concoctions so far this year and that is a hanging offense in her book.  She tends to moderate her requests so much that when she asks for something, I jump to accommodate her.  Hang on, was I just outsmarted by Daughter?  Again?

This week has also brought things like cookie decorating day at Caedmon's preschool.
Parents were invited to stay and help decorate the creations, and it was fascinating to get a glimpse of Caedmon's time away from me.  It turns out Cade is an interesting mix of Derek and myself, which has somehow turned him into an early reader who isn't afraid to shout out the answers to every question the teacher asks, not giving anyone else a chance to answer anything.  This is why I sound like a Catholic nun anytime I'm around his teachers, constantly saying, "Bless you," and patting them in solidarity.

This week- this morning, actually- I've also been sure to brush off Caedmon's fears to go downstairs by himself, especially when he cites "the sad face in the kitchen" as the basis of his worry.  When I finally sigh in resignation and hold his hand as we go down the stairs and into the kitchen together, this is what greets me:
That is indeed a sad face in the kitchen.  It's also the back of the toaster oven, which I'd forgotten I'd moved in order to make room for our demon printer that refused to print the Christmas newsletter I finally finished last night.  Something about needing both ink and paper to work.  I'm sure once I've replenished our supply of both, it will still refuse to work simply because my IT guy won't be here.  (Note:  My IT guy is Derek.  He's also the Information Technology guy for various family members and at work, despite the fact that he is not an actual IT guy.)

At this point I'm just thankful the dang newsletter is written, because it is tortuous to write.  Scratch that; it's fun to write, but tortuous to read.  Derek asked me to read it aloud to him last night, and I got three sentences in before I thrust the laptop at him and told him to please, please, please read it to himself, silently.  I knew that if I read one more word aloud I would no longer be able to fight the compulsion to delete the whole thing because it's all TRASH, UTTER GARBAGE.  

I love reading the holiday newsletters that come in our mail from our loved ones.  It's one of my very favorite things!  I don't put any of those newsletters through the interrogation that our own has to go through:  Is this thing too braggy?  Boring?  Overly long?  Cutesy?  Too detailed?  Am I making our imperfect lives seem too perfect?  The structure seems off.  My syntax is a travesty.  When did my vocabulary disintegrate?  WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER WITH ANY OF THIS?

Then I remind myself for the millionth time that reading these same things from our friends and family is ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS, and trust all the recipients to be gentle and forgiving of any flaws, because that is what relationships are about, and why we do silly things like Christmas cards:  To build and continue relationships.

Except for that one family whose photos and letter and very lives seem like one flawless package, delivered specially to our mailbox every December.  They suck.


  1. The Christmas letter I got from a relative has more exclamation marks than periods by possibly a 2-1 ratio. Or more. I'm sure you are not guilty of that offense.

  2. Ha, ha! The comment above made me laugh out loud, knowing your fondness for exclamation points.

    I do hope you'll post your letter so I can read it in all its imperfections. :) And I think we just have to extend grace to one another, knowing that no one has a perfect life and that we are sharing in our Christmas letters, not bragging. I personally don't understand the current temptation to feel threatened, insecure, or jealous by other people's letters. I could go off on that thread, but I'll refrain. We love you, and we love reading about your family's year. The End.


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