One of my great joys each year is writing our Christmas letter. Sometimes I start it in October, sometimes November. My goal each year is to get it finished and distributed before my ex-boyfriend, now Jesuit brother, Bill Farrington, sends out his Christmas card.
I'm one of those awful people who talk about our kids, our grandkids, our dogs, our trips and all the stuff that probably most people don't care about. I even wrote Christmas letters (though subdued) the years that David died (1996) and Paul died (1999). I still include our two dead sons when I sign my annual letter and mark them "in absentia," because I still consider them part of our family.
And yes, every year I feel defensive when the inevitable diatribes against people like me start appearing on the internet.
I thought about starting our letter when I was in Iowa, but all of the photos I wanted to use were on my external hard drive at home, so I resigned myself to getting the letter out late and cringed when Bill's card arrived, right on time, on December 1.
Since I've been home, I've been trying to write the letter and the "joy" just is not there. The past two months have been so depressing, and my mother's worsening condition so disheartening that it's hard to bring the Spirit of Christmas into a joyous Christmas greeting...and who wants to get a Christmas letter that says "my life sucks, Merry Christmas."
Actually my life doesn't suck at all. We are all (even my mother) in good health and good things happened this year. The grandkids are a constant joy and we will be seeing them in a couple of weeks when we go to see Brianna's play (The Music Man, the very first big musical that Paul ever did ... so there will inevitably be some tears), but there is no holly in my heart this year and I am struggling to find the words to make the letter interesting. Or finding words at all.
But it will get done. Eventually. Just not with the same enthusiasm that it usually has.
Walt went off to the opera with Char this afternoon (La Boheme...she died good) and then out for a beer with Ernest Kevin Baur, in town for Fox News to broadcast the 49er-Raiders game (sorry 'bout that, Tom), which gave me an empty house all day, which was nice.
I had a slothful day catching up on TV I missed while in Ohio, like all of White Collar and all of The Newsroom. Both are in their last seasons and I will miss both very much, especially White Collar, of which I have been a fan since before the rest of the world discovered the show.
And at the end of the day, I had a lovely chat with Jeri, which always makes things good.