What I can't say

Most years I can't wait to get to my holiday letter. I like updating in a self-deprecating, newsy sort-of-way. As the month cruises by, I get cards and holiday letters with little notes in them that say, "Looking forward to your letter". I like that others look forward to reading as much as I do writing it.

But this year I really struggled.

Generally, I like to write what I might like to read. Hinting at the downside suggests that no one life is perfect, yet a total scrooge-out misses the point completely.

But sometimes what is in your heart just isn't what people want to know.

What I can't say is that I still think about Andrew, not because I knew him well, but because I am a mom and as such, wonder how a person moves on from such a loss.

What I can't say is that his death is still working on me in ways I don't get and my need to do something grows stronger even if the what seems just as murky as it was when it was fresh.

What I can't say is that my brother is braver than I will ever be for working his AA steps one day, one hour, one minute at a time, and that his work is far greater than anything I will ever do.

What I can't say that while I love my kids, I don't feel that need to micromanage and coach and schedule the hell out of their life. I love it when they leave me alone as much as I love when they pile in my bed at 6:30 a.m. for massive snuggling and tickle time.

What I can't say is as much joy as family can bring you, there can also be immense pain.

What I can't say that I don't get why I want what is best for everyone more than what is best for me as an individual. Taking it for the team has always been good for me and when the talk turns to politics, the divides seems greater than ever before and I want to scream, "It's about all of us...not just you."

I get it now...why I get those pictures of a happy family with a name stamped on the bottom. Because it is hard sometimes to paint a picture of your year in an honest fashion....all you can do is choose the moments you want to share. And sometimes, the moment you plan for and create is the one you most want to work with.

What I can't say is that I view the letter as a gift and when you are struggling inside, it is hard to give.

Thing 2 decided to helps me sign and stuff the envelopes, and she voiced what I knew to be true. She was disappointed in my letter full of pictures and little text.
"Mom, where is all your writing? That is the best part. You are funny, mom!"


I can disappoint the masses just fine...but my baby doll?

"Well, hon. It was really hard this year. I had a lot going on in my head...and I just didn't feel funny."

With the shrug of a carefree tween she says, "Next year will be better" and continues to sign in her middle school script that is sure to bring a few smiles.

What I can say is her nudge of optimism is just what I needed to let it all go and enjoy what really matters this season.

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