If by now you’re wondering when you’re going to receive our cute family photo on a festively adorned piece of cardstock, the answer is never. This is not because you’re not my friend and I don’t love you, and I’m sorry to have failed to reciprocate, for those of you who have sent me such items in the past several days.
This won’t be a long post. The reason we don’t do them is simple: we don’t have time. Like, never. Like, even if we tried to get them done around Halloween, instead of closer to Christmas. If I am serious about getting them done, for the first time, say in 2014, then now would probably be the time to get that taken care of. I’m serious.
Every year I tell myself that this is the year I will get the family together and go out some place and get the photos done. Or, that I will sit down with our own photos and slap something together using one of those services where you assemble your own photos and they give you the cute backgrounds. (Can you tell I’m not a picture person? For example, I am only vaguely aware of what Instagram does.)
Every year, I fail. It’s easy to blame this on a lack of time, but I guess the truth is that I just can’t be bothered to carve out the brain space to do it. My life has an ever-amorphous to do list, and I just hate putting one more thing on there, especially one that doesn’t really feel important compared with client demands, unmovable deadlines, picking the kids up and making dinner.
So each holiday season I collect all these lovely, cheery cards, and it’s a sad reminder of how difficult life has become with the pressure of running a business, practicing law, and just having little ones in my life. I can barely find the time to schedule a Peapod delivery (seriously … you need to be home and able to answer the door in order for it to work), let alone create a holiday photo card. If I could outsource the project, I probably would. For now, my failure to get this done year after year is symbolic of the larger problems I have with priorities and making time for family. Work comes first, family competes but inevitably falls to second place, and me … there is no me time. And that Christmas card doesn’t fit into the picture, because it feels like just another obligation, and one that is neither work-related nor family-related. Because, actually, who is that card really for? Is it for the moms who love dressing the kids up and sharing the visual evidence of all that hard work wrangling them into an appropriate photo? Is it for the family members and mom friends who expect to receive the pictures?
I guess holiday photos are just not all that important to me, or else I would be getting them done. Not that I’m opposed to all photos, although I guess you could say I don’t give them much thought in my social media life or in any other forum. But the point is, we do things that are important to us — celebrating special occasions, cuddling up with a good book, playing in the snow, baking cookies — and the importance of that classic holiday family photo just fades in comparison.
But still, if I’m firm in my stance on this, why did I devote a whole post to the topic? I suppose it goes back to that symbolism of how hard life is. Or rather, things I’m failing at. Maybe it’s not important, but it’s a thing people do, and a thing I have sort of attempted to do myself, and failed at doing. Failure doesn’t feel great, however small and inconsequential. And at a time of year that lends itself to depression, at least for some of us, I need every bit of cheer and good feeling I can scrape together to feel like I am doing just fine–and that should be all that matters.