Thursday, January 9, 2014

How to write a Christmas letter

Life is Good: I don't have to write a Christmas letter!

Last week, as I was finishing up our Christmas cards... No, you don't have to re-read that. It is true. I subscribed to the "Christmas is twelve days long" theory this year. Some people got their cards before Christmas, some right after Christmas, and some, a week after Christmas. I promised myself that I would not stress out during Christmas this year and that meant that our cards went out late in some instances. I'm okay with that. So anyway! As I was finishing up cards, I thought about Christmas letters. We received many photo cards this year, but few letters. I always enjoy the updates and as a writer, like to see how people craft their messages and what tidbits they choose to include. As I placed stamps in each corner of our red envelopes, I imagined what our letter might say.

I would probably start with Grant:
Grant is a wonderful daddy who goes in to work in the wee hours so that he can race home and spend time with us at the end of the day. He has become a master ninja turtle illustrator, builds enormous lego creations, and now knows who One Direction are. He is still loving his job, gratefully.  He would never tell you that he is doing important work, being asked to talk at fancy events, and held in high esteem by perspicacious people. But I would! Because I am so proud of his hard work and talents.

Later, when I would let Grant read the letter, he would ask for me to delete everything after the word, "gratefully" and I would.

Next, the big kid. Where to begin? It has been such a momentous year. I would probably stick to milestones...preschool graduation, beginning kindergarten, first basketball lessons. I would mention our trip to Florida where our house rental had a trampoline that he loved and our trip to Mt. Rushmore where we ran the streets of downtown Rapid City looking for statues of presidents. I would report the first two lost teeth and what a loving big brother he is.

And our little one. This year has been the most monumental for him. He's gone from a couple of words at a time to extraordinarily complex sentences. He's seemingly unstoppable around the biggest of kids. His sense of humor continues to get bigger and so do our reactions to it. He started going to a morning dropoff playroom once a week which he adores and continues to take art lessons. Like his brother, he is full of hugs and smiles and sunshine. Though, he has mastered every two year old's favorite word, "NO!" (Which often is accompanied by, "yes", as in "NO! Yes, please.")

And then on to me. I know myself best of all, right? I should be the easiest one to write about. And yet...what would I say?

Susie did not run a marathon this year. Or participate in a mud run. Or get paint splattered on her as she raced past onlookers. She did chase little boys around the house a lot, plant many footsteps at the Arboretum, and jump over numerous cracks in the sidewalk. Susie did not go on a girls' trip to Las Vegas or a warm, sandy beach. She did drink cold lemonade in the sunshine while admiring three handsome dudes in their swimsuits running through the sprinkler. And got an occasional pedicure, often with a girlfriend or two. Susie didn't get promoted to VP of anything. She was told many times, though, that she is "the best mommy ever" and she "has the bestest ideas of anybody" approximately 278 times. Susie didn't read important fiction novels, take regular yoga and spin classes, join a running club, take an adult education course, go to happy hours, or have much "me" time of any sort. However, she laughed a lot, received millions of hugs, got messy, and stretched her brain with a lot of "we" time. She created memories, she participated in special moments, she engaged herself in important lessons.

Susie...nothing out of the ordinary, but for in my little opinion, extraordinary. One day, I will have all of the time in the world for a spin class (but will I want to go?) or a trip away with girlfriends (but will I rather go with my husband?) or a million other things "all about me". But this past year, and right now, in this moment, it is all about "us". That is my choice. I choose for my "me" time to be "we" time. I think it makes for a stronger marriage and a more secure family. And that makes "me" happy.

So that is my UN-Christmas letter. I guess it was better that I just sent a photo card! ; )

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! And so that I don't feel late on everything...Happy Valentine's Day!

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