Hard to believe…but a few short years ago my mantle was
FULL overflowing with Christmas cards from friends and family. So many glittery pictures of sparkling eyes, dressed up in various versions of Christmas colors, with smiles-a-plenty, complete with well wishes for a merry season and joyful new year! This has been true for as far back as I remember…mostly after our married friends started having children (about 20+ yrs ago) and reaching it’s peak about 7 yrs ago. However, through the years, the number of cards began to dwindle. Due in part, I am sure, to the fact that more and more people are going digital and have cut the cost of having printed cards made and mailed. In addition though, our Christmas card haul from family and friends has decreased because I stopped sending out cards a few years ago myself. Perhaps giving and receiving of Christmas cards really is more of a one-to-one activity. You mail one to a friend, they mail one back to you?? They don’t get one from you this year, they remove your address from their Christmas card list…
BUT. THEN. THEY. STOPPED.
PSA: JUST SO WE ARE CLEAR…THIS POST IS NOT the same thing as a teenager walking away with slumped shoulders since they only got 189 likes on an IG pic instead of their previous record of 432. Or worse, the distraught teen who continues to compare their “likes” with their peers on similar pictures posted on social media. Nor is it a pity party or “woe is me”. And if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I am willing to call a spade a spade and would fully admit to having a pity party (with no shame) if that, in fact was what this is. This post is NOTHING more than a simple observation of what could be nothing more than a comedy of errors, coincidence, and a sign of the times. Nonetheless, an observation that got me thinking and reflecting. When that happens coupled with a window of personal alone time, that usually equals a blog post. So…now that we have that out of the way…
The year was 2018. Season = Christmas. The year I received no Christmas cards in my mailbox or otherwise from family and friends.
I didn’t stop having friends or stop being a friend. I didn’t move (been in the same house for 13 yrs) or leave the country. I didn’t change my name or go into the witness protection program. So…what is different?
OH….RIGHT (insert facepalm) ! I got a divorce.
WAIT. WHAT?? I am not married anymore. I am a single mom.
Have you ever played “Never Have I Ever”? No? Me either. But let’s just say, if I were to play…I could say…”Never have I ever been on the other side, outside, or under the nicely wrapped box of married-middle-America, hard-working,
2.5 4 kids, dog, swing set in backyard (or old used up trampoline) and picket rickety/hodgepodge fenced in yard”. As best I can tell…it is inside THAT BOX that family pictures are taken, Christmas cards are printed and mailed or hand-delivered, and accessorize fireplace mantles (or those fun reclaimed wooden Christmas trees) for all to see. So…seeing as how I’m not in that box anymore explains everything. RIGHT?
I get it. Seriously. Now that I can no longer say with honesty “never have I ever been outside that box”, I now know why there isn’t a
whole lotta ANY Christmas card giving going on outside the box.
There just ain’t no time or money or bandwidth for that.
So I guess that’s why I didn’t receive any. AND while not getting Christmas cards may be different…TRUST me…pretty much else still looks the same on the outside of the box. I am still spending too much money on Christmas. My son still got a flat tire the week before Christmas. My bathroom sink began leaking that same day. As a mom I am still struggling to balance family, work, and life responsibilities just like I used to. The dishes still get piled up in my kitchen sink and the laundry still doesn’t do itself (awww, man!). Christmas decorations are still a whole lot more fun to put up than to take down. The dog still needs grooming, everyone still needs to go to the dr. dentist, and orthodontist. AND…drum roll please……………………………….my kids still have way too many plates, cups, and half full water bottles in their rooms.
BUT. THINGS. ARE. DIFFERENT.
I worship at a new body of believers. I have made more new friends in the past 8 months than I have in 20 years. I have never had more friends outside of the box. Several young married friends with littles, college students (yes, as friends), older friends, single moms (with tattoos no less, LOVE YOU BIG, Brooke), single professional women (never married w/no children), and friends who are in sober living facilities or living independently as recovering addicts. Having friends from so many walks of life is a really cool part of my life. I’ve met new people in new towns that don’t “look” like me. I’ve gone skydiving, to city that never sleeps, and into a little debt. I have found my voice, had inner peace restored, and reclaimed my joy. Sound exciting and cool?
Yeah…it is…except for…No Christmas cards. #Truestory
It’s all good though. As it turns out the number of Christmas cards you receive in no way reflects how well you are like, how many friends you have, how great your life is, or how much fun you are having living it. Ironically…the same holds true for social media “likes/affirmations”. So…there’s that.
the whole truth and nothing but,
P.S. After writing this post…it occurred to me that there are many, many things in my life that have changed and altered the way I see other people, my future, and the world. I thought, if for no other reason than to reflect on those “many, many things”, it would be worth doing a blog series about “The Year of No Christmas Cards”. So, stay tuned and come back if you are interested in learning more. If not, that’s fine too. My writing is as much about free therapy for me as it is entertaining the masses, or speaking to the heart of another sinsick, searching, longing, desperate, hopeful soul just trying to make it in this ol’ world.