For as long as I can remember I have loved Christmas Cards. It was one of my favorite things about this season. Seeing the families year to year- how they would grow and change and where they would move. What they would share, wear, or the card they would choose. I soaked it all in! We received them from long time friends, family and folks from various aspects of our family’s world- each year seemed to add a new category: families who danced with my sister, professional contacts of my dad and before we knew it, professionals of the same industry- but of my brother. I just had such a fascination and spent more hours that I should admit daydreaming about what my own my look like one day.
I will never forget the first ones I got to send out: winter 2010. I remember how carefully I chose the vendor… the design… and suddenly realizing what elements would mean the most to me: saying Christmas over holiday… choosing this as a greeting from a family- even if it would only feature 2 and then 2.5 for many years. And true to my own mother’s style: they all needed a hand written element or little note.
Over the years, like most things, they could be transformed to a stress: cost… time… taking the photo…. But still I never missed a year. It was important to me this was a family tradition for us and that I reminded myself – even with the hard parts of life – dreams can still come true.
For 2021 I did not send a Christmas card. The first time in 11 years. The decision was the right one… the pain of skipping was less than the pain of having it appear with the glaring reality- our family was changing and my desire for traditions, memories, values, commitment … was not shared. I was not ready to share about our life and that is ok, healing was more important.
This year, the Bessette family Christmas card has returned. And I am first grateful fir healing and then secondly proud to say: I am honored to feature the continuation of our story. Shannon and I remain…. Our family name remains… and it shares the bond that is growing, the new additions and the hope that three of us feel. It is being sent out when we still have those who aren’t participating still part of our family in every sense of the way: in name, in blood, in vow, in legal terms… just not physically. But the absence has healed enough to say it is their choice and we are proud that messy isn’t sharing a place in our family story with shame. This is our family and the story has been sad and also full of miracles. God has never held a physical presence and yet he is in every single greeting as He has remained in every single chapter of this story: so we have incredible peace and hope.
And this little moment captured here is from this Thanksgiving- one of the best I have had in years- because of the joy Shannon exclaimed without an once of hesitation or second of pause when her moment at the table for gratitude was given: Mommy and Oliver. That is a reason for celebration… that moment of pure love is what this season is about and I hope our cards that are received find it’s recipients in moments of joy, despite the mess.
We have so much to be thankful for and so much to look ahead to… and what a perfect time to stop and send Merry Christmas greetings.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day,