Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Newsletter

I love Christmas cards. Every December, the walk to the mailbox is my favorite time of day. I love sending and receiving mail (my love language is gifts, surprise surprise, but getting cards is even more anticipated than opening gifts Christmas Day) and it's the one time of year when I'm almost guaranteed to have something non-bill, non-ad like in the mail every day. Except this year, it wasn't. After our horrid ultrasound on December 9th, I've gone to the mailbox everyday thinking, "If only there is a card there, it will cheer me up." And for the next week and a half, we got exactly 2 cards, both on the same day. Lots of bills though. Of course.

As Christmas gets closer, the cards are finally coming in, several each day. But there are still less than we usually get. As sad (or perhaps unstable) as this sounds, it really feels like insult to injury. Like the universe is conspiring against me. It's like I can hear this little voice, She's dreading Christmas, but the one thing she's still excited about the holidays is receiving Christmas cards, so let's make sure she gets very few. Let's destroy what little joy she has left, eh? I know, crazy right? The people that usually send us cards are just a little behind this year. Or the post office is. You know, real, simple, non-conspiratorial explanations. But I can't help feeling a little hurt. This is what they mean in all those pregnancy loss books when they say you might feel a little crazy. (They also say, Don't worry, it's normal. So I'm not going to worry.)

I love sending cards too. This year, instead of a photo card, I decided to finally start using all the boxes of Christmas cards I've hoarded over the years when they're on major clearance after Christmas and just tuck in a picture of our family. The picture includes one of our babies, the one we lost most recently. You wouldn't know by looking at it (in fact, I didn't even know yet when it was snapped) but I was very newly pregnant in the photo.

When I wrote out our cards, I so badly wanted to include a family newsletter. We've never written an official newsletter, but last year we had fancy photo cards made with pictures and captions inside that shared a bit about our year, so that was a newsletter right? I tried to think of something to write in one this year and I just couldn't scrounge one up. We've had no moves this year (first time since we were married); Lucia, while being absolutely adorable, is still young enough where she's not in many activities to note and everything else comes off as something a proud mama wants to share but very few care to read ("The way she says purple and turtle and circle are so, so cute it's unbearable."); and truly the only thing of our last year that feels notable is that we conceived three souls. But nobody wants to read about miscarriage in a Christmas card, right?

When we send out our cards, I was still pregnant. But it was too early to share the good news. How badly I wanted to sign them from the little baby too. I thought about waiting until after the ultrasound, thinking if we saw a heartbeat we'd be confident enough to include the baby, but I had the foresight to know that if we didn't see a heartbeat (which was the case) I probably wouldn't feel up to finishing our cards. So I reconciled myself with the fact that we could send out cute little photo Valentines with Lucia kissing me belly and a real corny little caption like, "love multiplies" or something like that. Yep. Well, we'll see if I get St. Valentine cards out this year without breaking down sobbing.

This post is about nothing really, but it's a pretty accurate depiction of how in the wake of loss something as seemingly insignificant as Christmas cards can be the cause of so much thinking and overthinking and analysis and pain. It's like no matter what I do or think of, I can somehow twist it into making me cry. Some days, the losses take over my life, paint it all a very blood colored hue.

Anyway, if I were to write a Christmas newsletter today and share what I really want to share, this is what it would look like:

2014 was a difficult year for our family. We conceived and lost three more souls to miscarriage. In May, we made it through our first due date by going to Mass, visiting Francis's grave, and spending a day as a family at the beach. This gives us hope that God will give us the grace to get through the many difficult days that 2015 has in store for us. We pray that we will have a new baby to celebrate in 2016.

We finally spent a whole year living in one state. David is still loving his teaching job, Mandi worked her way through the Anne of Green Gables series and C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, and Lucia loves being a mama to her baby dolls.

May you feel the love of Christ at Christmas and may your 2015 be blessed.

David, Mandi, Lulu, Francis, Julian, Adrienne, & Christian