December 26, 2010

Power of the pen


My friend and I have started writing letters again. You know, like, with pens. On PAPER. It's crazy stuff, actually. You write something, put it in an envelope with a stamp and an actual geographical address, take it to a mailbox (medium-sized blue thing, sort of looks like a trash can) and put it inside. Several DAYS later, it's delivered by hand to the other person.

DAYS. That's practically forever in our light speed universe. And you know what?

I love it! I love getting mail. It feels special somehow. It certainly makes the daily trek to the mailbox more exciting when you've a hope for actual correspondence instead of just credit card offers and grocery fliers.

Lisa sent me this picture on one of her letters and it's EXACTLY how I feel about our epistolary relationship (Get your mind out of the gutter and look it up! It's not vulgar! Well, mostly not... moving on.). Sure, email is fast and immediate and often immensely convenient. I use it every day and it keeps me close to people I don't get to see often anymore.

But a letter... there's just something WONDERFUL about getting a letter. So if you're in the mood to make a resolution this year, may I recommend an investment? Stationary, stamps and a comfy pen. Send a letter to someone every week, every month, whatever. You'll have fun doing it, I promise. You may just make someone's crappy day a little bit better at the sight of your handwriting mixed in with the post-holiday bills. Considering I have pretty awful script, that's a big deal indeed!

December 25, 2010

Christmas Magic

There is a special present under my tree. I can’t honestly remember the last time I had a Christmas gift from that particular person. When I first opened the package I was so overcome that I surprised even myself.

“Why are you crying, Mom?” my girls asked. “Do you want to open it right now? We’re sad, too, can we open ours?” Ever the sly negotiators, my kids.

I smiled at the conniving and said, “Sorry, ladies. No presents until Christmas. Besides, I don’t care if I ever open this one, I just like seeing it sitting here.”

They met this declaration with skeptical disbelief, but it’s true. It doesn’t matter to me what is under that wrapping paper. It could be a box of chocolate, a miniature airplane kit, the first season of I Love Lucy. I really don’t care. It’s there. My dad sent me a present, it’s under my tree and I feel like a kid again.

Christmas as an adult can be stressful and, since I’m being honest, I haven’t really enjoyed the season in a long time. The lists, running around, shopping and flow of money out the door has a tendency to rob the thrill for me. Since having my children, I now just look forward to their anticipation, surprise, glow and excitement more than anything else. Kids have an innocent belief that I’ve lost.

This year, with one small and unexpected package, I’ve found a little bit of my own innocence again. It’s easy to forget that this time of year is a reminder to treasure the people we value… and the people who value us.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you all find a little surprise under your trees, too, whether it’s wrapped up in paper or just a feeling of appreciation you didn’t know you’d missed.

December 04, 2010

Judgement Day (or night, to be exact)

We went to the freezing but lovely Festival of Lights Parade downtown this evening. By freezing, I mean goodgraciousmeohmyDAMNitissupercold. Driving home when the excitement was over, all the kids started to quiet down in the car at about the same rate that their fingers and noses thawed. Jack, after a few minutes of wailing (turns out his hat had slid down over his eyes, oops. Will the real bad parents please stand up?), fell into one of those coma-like infant sleeps.

"Maybe he'll be so tired out he sleeps through the night," I commented to Kurt.

"Really? You think so?"

"No, of course not. I was just being optimistic."

Kurt glanced over at me, a non-committal sub-smile barely lining his face.

"What? That's who I am. I'm a glass half-full kind of girl!"

The non-committal expression morphed as he ever-so-slightly raised his eyebrows. "Hmmm," he murmured. The sound echoed as it bounced around that peanut gallery.

Okay, so I know that, what with me occasionally taking the stance that the glass is not only half-empty but also irreparably broken, I'm not exactly the optimistic type ALL THE TIME. But it was a nice night, the kids weren't crying and my fingers had started to comfortably return to the land of the living. He could have at least pretended to give me the benefit of the doubt.

Everyone's a critic. And they're all out to get me.

(Gee... I sure am thirsty. If only this cup here had more water in it. Sigh. Life is so unfair.)