Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Holiday Cards Lie!

They keep coming: the holiday cards featuring happy, smiling, beaming even, faces of gorgeously perfect, attractive, seemingly well-adjusted kids and their apparently joyful parents.

I don't believe them, though.

What I believe is this: Every picture perfect holiday card family is only showing us PART of the story.

The only honest card we've gotten so far was from our friends Jenine and Bruce, who enclosed not one card, but two. The first featured the kids posing in front of a snow-flocked Christmas tree, looking angelic. But the second card, enclosed with the first, was captioned, "The Real Holiday Card," and it featured pictures of both boys sporting casts over various limbs, and the girl with a face almost completely covered in what I am optimistically hoping was chocolate.

This is the true picture of family life for most moments of the year for most of us.

Though I spent the better part of the afternoon and evening stuffing envelopes with a holiday card featuring OUR gorgeously perfect, attractive, seemingly well-adjusted kids and ourselves looking apparently joyful, I am admitting right here, for the record, that ninety-nine percent of the time, it just ain't so.

Even at the photo session during which the pictures were taken, Thing 1 was having none of posing for a nice photo, and it was nearly impossible to get a snap of him actually smiling. Though normally he's overly exuberant -- his nickname of late has been "Mr. Enthusiasm" -- the morning of the photo session, he was cranky from not having slept enough (his own fault, he refused to go to sleep the previous night) and therefore almost wholly non-cooperative. Thing 2 was more amenable, but even she had precious little patience with posing: "I already said 'cheese,'" she'd protest, then then head off in search of toys or a snack.

This Sunday was far more typical than what's represented on the holiday card: Thing 2 woke up howling and turned out to have not one, but two, ear infections (one in each ear). Late Blooming Mom caught Thing 2's cold (but thankfully, not the ear infections) and slept in on Sunday, then had a nap in the afternoon, leaving Late Blooming Dad forced to cope with both kids for far too long on his own. Everybody turned cranky by Sunday night, and Thing 1 capped it all off by refusing to go to sleep until nearly 11pm.

I can't help but imagine similar scenes occurring in the homes of these very same picture perfect families depicted on the holiday cards we've received. But I guess no one's in the mood to take pictures on those days.

I bet even the Von Trapps (of SOUND OF MUSIC fame) had moments when they couldn't stand each other. It wasn't all puppet shows and Edelweis at the Von Trapp Manor.

We'll still be sending out the card on which we look happy. And the truth is, for many, many moments during a typical day, we are. But there are plenty of moments when we are not the family on that holiday card. I guess no one wants to get a card that pictures Mr. and Mrs. Von Grumpenstein, and their Twins, Whiny/Needy and Hyper/Annoying. But I just want to go on record as admitting that such a picture would be equally true, indeed.

1 comment:

Jenine said...

Hi Holly,
Yes, R's face is covered in chocolate on our card(from my birthday cake that she got into before I had any of it). In a more recent rendition of the card the boys look the same, but R has a black eye covering most of the right side of her face (from a sledding accident)! Too many kids, too much energy!