However, Joe ADORES receiving Christmas cards, and there's an unwritten law in our house that he is the ONLY one to open Christmas cards.
Each Christmas season, we wait for the mail to come, ripping open the letters to catch up up with long lost friends and relatives through their picture cards and sweet letters, chronicling sports team success, musical prowess, and overall awesomeness. We used to send out a letter, and Joe's really good at crafting it, but this year, just a picture will be in our envelopes, and as I was stuffing them last night, I almost had to laugh.
Our picture is not us.
Well, it is us...just not us most of the time.
In the picture, we're relaxed.
We're on a beach.
We're sunkissed from the San Diego sun.
I'm wearing white pants that don't have any spills or dust or dirt on them.
Our Christmas card picture was taken this summer as we were on vacation, and who wouldn't want to highlight the fact that we went on a really nice vacation?
I feel like a phony, however. This is just part of our year's story. We don't have it in us to write a letter this year, and would rather remember this time of sun and smiling.
But, even though that's only part of our story of the year, isn't that what a Christmas card is all about? Shouldn't I want to show how I rocked white pants and a tan? Shouldn't we want to share that we were at one time, sunkissed? While we all want to be real with each other, no one wants to air out dirty laundry in a holiday greeting, right?
However, after recording another podcast with Holly and DeAnna (listen here) and discussing how we like to only share our highlight reels, and then reading the blog post, Killing Off Supermom, I had to take a step back. My card is too nice. We're all smiling so sweetly. We're not even in the right state, let alone state of normalcy that accompanies our family.
Am I part of the problem? Am I only sharing my highlight reel as I stuff envelope after envelope with our beachy vacation picture...which, by the way is lovely, but it's not really where we spend day after day.
Isn't it lovely?
It's not who we were the other 357 days of the year 2013. While I'd love to wear white pants nearly every day, the dust of our road and my adorable children (pictured above) cause me to wear them only when necessary.
Or when I'm alone.
Our life in a Christmas card looks picture perfect, and while part of me wants to keep it real at all times and portray my life as the mess that it is, the other part of me wants and strives to have it all together. While I never want to come across as someone who has it all together, because then you're just a jerk or lying, I love to at least portray to have it together for a few minutes to get a nice picture for a card. Isn't it perfectly acceptable to stuff 115 envelopes full of beach vacation pictures, because that was a good time. That was a good memory, and we'd like to share it with our loved ones at this time of year. I don't think I'm faking it, just sharing that once in a while, we do it all right and have it together.
In Christmas Card Land, we can pretend that all memories are made in soft light and are lovely. Let's pretend that our life on the farm allows us the freedom and flexibility to jet off to exotic places. Let's pretend that the lack of rain or calves or cancer were not really the thoughts at forefront of our mind. Let's pretend that our children sit and smile (or at least look pleasant...note Jack's expression) for a moment to snap a beautiful memory.
There's nothing wrong with keeping it real, but there's also nothing wrong with portraying and highlighting the beautiful. There's a delicate balance one should maintain, in my opinion, and thankfully, most of my friends seem to think the same, as my mailbox is full of beautiful pictures of perfectly coordinating children who I know were probably just driving each other bonkers as their mom tried to squeeze them into a sweater vest and sit on a nice leafy path.
I guess life in Christmas Card Land is easy, but life out here on our farm and anywhere for that matter is hard. The joy of the season should be highlighted in happy memories and smiling faces, and if that takes place on a beach or in a field of corn, I'll snap that picture and send it, because I choose happy.
Merry Christmas, friends.