My dad always wrote letters. Real letters, on paper. He hand wrote thank you cards and for years longer than he should have he hand addressed every show announcement from the gallery. But in recent years with recurring health scares and preparing to close down his business, (and frankly, the convenience of email) my dad hasn’t written as often. I call him a few times a week as well, so maybe a letter would seem too out of date by the time it arrived. I miss the letters, but dad has poured more of his energy into drawing lately, and that’s been quite wonderful.
In any case, sometimes you carry on certain traditions
or ways of doing things that make good, logical sense, and then there
are also things that feel right because they are familiar or associated
with people you love. For me, sending out out holiday cards falls into
the latter category. Anyone truly interested in knowing what’s
happening in my life can read this blog or make contact through things
like Facebook anymore. There are people who need the annual update, but
not many. I wonder if the expense and trouble of holiday cards is
really worth it, but I have it in my head that once a year you touch
base with people using a hand written note. That feels right even if
the notion is impractical and out of date.
Usually we make our own cards, too, but during the years when Ian was
deployed or after I had just given birth that was crazy. Those years
we either used basic photo cards or waited a couple of months and sent
out Valentines to everyone instead. I asked Aden what she thought we
should do this year–another photo card or make them ourselves? Crazy
girl after my own heart said, “Make them!”
So I set up what Ian affectionately calls ‘Mommy’s Sweatshop’ and put my kids to work. We
decided to go with a potato print of a pine tree, and when that dried
the kids could all decorate the trees with stickers or sequence or
whatever they wanted. We picked a cold, lazy afternoon and cranked them
I went ahead and carved the potato, then showed the kids how rub it in the paint and make a print.
We still have some cards to finish, and now I have to get busy
actually writing in them and tucking pictures into a few. There is only
so much Mommy’s Sweatshop can successfully delegate to the smaller
people in the house. Some of it is always just Mommy’s Sweat alone.
Maybe someday I will get more practical and at least pare down my
list. There are people I never hear from myself who I wonder if they
puzzle why they even get a card, but the truth is there is no one on the
list that I don’t think of fondly, and it’s nice even for just a few
moments a year to remember something about the people from my past and
let them know they are remembered. That doesn’t seem like a waste of
time, even at a time of year when there is no time to waste.