Update: You’ll find further thoughts — a point, counterpoint contained in the comments below.
If I receive fewer holiday cards next year I’ll know why. It will likely be the result of the blog post you’re about to read.
What’s the deal with cards that only include photos of children?
Not so long ago these cards brought tears — not of joy as intended, but sadness. They delivered a blatant, painful reminder of my infertility. Tougher today after years of being bombarded by baby shower invitations, baby announcements and holiday cards showcasing progeny, I no longer reach for the tissue box. I do though take issue with the message these cards communicate — that families are defined only by children.
What happened to the parents? Are the people addressing the cards transforming into Greta Garbo, shunning the camera entirely? Have they become completely insignificant after bearing children? Perhaps they’re like retired Studs and Studettes. Their work is done and their value is no longer what it once was now that they’ve successfully reproduced. Salmon come to mind…
The cards are even more surreal when sent by longtime friends. Since I don’t see them but every few years at best I wouldn’t be able to select their children from a lineup. For all I know the smiling faces depicted in the card could have been chosen from a talent agency. It’s not that I’m entirely disinterested in their children (and that’s taken me a looooonnnng time to come around to since resentment was too often the dominant sentiment occupying my attention when such cards arrived), but what I really want to know is what my former childhood chum or dorm-mate looks like now.
What type of card do I send in return? One that showcases my family of two — me and Mr. PJ in all our middle-aged glory.
Now, in the interest of helping my infertile brother and sisterhood who still do choke up when children-only cards arrive … a word of advice to the fertile: during the mother of all family seasons (pun intended) keep in mind there’s more to celebrate than children alone. Learn how the timer on your digital camera works and reveal yourself.
A very happy holiday season to all…pass the ‘nog, please!