Our annual holiday letter and accompanying family photo was sent out yesterday to roughly 90 of our friends and family. As we were stuffing envelopes last night I asked the husband how many less we would send if we only sent them to people we actually still talk to. I said 85% but he thought I was being a bit dramatic. His guess was 60%. But he made the point that part of the tradition of sending Christmas cards is to stay in touch with friends who you don't otherwise stay in touch with. He has a point. And I myself love getting cards and pictures of old friends and their families this time of year. So in the mail the cards went.
Mr. Cob wrote this year's card, as he's done the past few years. I always get editorial rights and can cut or add as I see fit. I rarely have major edits, other than reigning in the obscure jokes that my husband gets but that very few other people will (myself included…). The point, obviously, of our letter is to keep friends and family in the loop on our life – the major events of the year are hit upon (new babies, vacations, job changes, moves, etc.) – but the husband's bigger goal is making his readers laugh, so a lot of our letter is nonsense, which I appreciate (his humor is the main reason I fell in love with the man). One year, the husband penned the card in Lukas' name. And this year there's a theme from our childhood that runs throughout. We've been told on numerous occasions that people love getting our card every year, so we keep doing it.
But we've both always been cognizant of the braggery aspect of many holiday letters and we try to avoid that at all costs. But let's be honest, sending a picture of our family and letting everyone know what we're up to, is sort of bragging in and of itself. And even if it's not outright bragging, it occurred to me this morning that the letter doesn't give the whole picture. Yes, it includes the highlights of the year – we sold our house in Atlanta, Mr. Cob got a new job, we bought a new house and moved to Macon, the boys are growing much too fast, my job is in a state of flux, etc. etc. But there is something distinctly missing from our letter: the lowlights of the year. There's an argument to be made that your loved ones and old friends don't care to read a depressing holiday letter, but by leaving out the lows, are we artificially inflating the highs? And I'm not saying my family is alone in this, it's rare that anyone's holiday card includes the nitty gritty, or a photo that isn't picture-perfect. But in my quest for authenticity, I think a letter including the lows might be nice.
So here's what we should've included in the Christmas letter this year:
- Julian wore a helmet to correct his plagiocephaly until early Spring. The helmet smelled bad, no matter how much washing was done.
- I quit breastfeeding Julian at 9 months and I felt like a complete failure for not making it a year.
- We took a two week vacation this summer and we didn't sleep one full night of the trip. We were all tired and cranky most of the time and Mr. Cob slept in the car on multiple occasions.
- Our baby didn't start sleeping through the night on a regular basis until he was 14 months old. We've all been very tired.
- I've been having random anxiety attacks since we closed on our house in Macon and decided it was time to start seeing a therapist again. (Although she was actually awful and wanted to talk about what I wanted to be when I was a child to figure out what career path I should've chosen and then wanted to dig into my childhood to try to figure out why I was anxious now (which really, the reason is obvious: I'm a full-time lawyer, with two small boys who has just made a bunch of huge life changes and has no friends). She also may have made the comment that I should just get over the mom-guilt because my kids are going to be in school soon enough and then what would be the point in being a stay-at-home mom then. She clearly didn't have children. So yea, I lived through that ridiculous hour and didn't come out of it with any new was to deal with the anxiety.)
- I still have not lost all the baby weight. 17 months later. Damn 5 pounds won't go away. Nor will the 10 I wanted to lose before getting pregnant with J.
- My parenting patience is a work in progress. Just ask my 4 year old.
- I'm addicted to my smartphone. And Facebook.
I could probably keep going, but you get the point. None of that made the letter this year. But it's all my reality. So when you open my card, or anyone's card this holiday season, don't compare my/their life to yours. Remember that you're only seeing what they've chosen to show you.