Thursday, November 18, 2010

holiday greetings

 Every year since Isaac was born, Mike and I shun all those cool templates at Snapfish to make our own holiday cards. The wisdom of this tradition is under investigation and has some interesting predecessors – build your own wedding invitation anyone? Make it a size and shape that you are forced to also make your own envelopes? See bride and groom. See bride and groom fume. See bride leave in a huff. See groom finish envelopes alone. See this pattern repeat – For. The. Rest. Of. Their. Lives.

This year, I'm having more trouble than most working on the card. I had decided to do an original linoleum block print for the design after an old interest in the art form was recently rekindled for me. Months ago I snapped up some paper on clearance at the craft store. It was still spring and juices were flowing.

Oddly, my plan for a block print Christmas card was one of the few things I got to tell my mother the last morning before she died. I didn't tell her how beautiful she was or how I wished we'd stayed longer in April after our flight to Ireland was canceled. I didn't tell her about the miscarriage. But, as she lay bloated and laboring to breathe in a hospital bed in cardio-ICU: “Hey, mom, we're gonna do block prints for our Christmas cards!”

It was June. Did I think that might be the one thing to keep her hanging on? Maybe elect for surgery or heavy duty cardio meds so she could be around to get some winter wonderland scene in the mail pressed onto sale paper?

At the time, I think she nodded. With that, her job was done. Child number four had arrived at her bedside while she was still breathing. She'd beckoned the nurse, calling her into the room by name to show her the 11x14 print I'd brought of Isaac grinning out from a tangle of tree branches and subtitled “I love you, Grandmom! Feel Better!” What else was there to do?

I was starting to get the idea that our usual personalized greeting could become something of a tinder box this year when I tried to come up with a tag line...

“Hope maybe your mom is still alive this holiday season.”
“This year sucked, the new year should be better because at least my mom can't die again.”
“Wishing you joy – somebody might as well have it since it appears unavailable to me.”
“Keep family close this holiday season, unless of course your mom is dead, then, it'd be a little weird.”

I keep hearing from people how my mom “would have loved...(Fill in the Blank).” There's a block print in it for you if you can come up with a card slogan that she would have loved.


Susannah said...

This piece moved me to tears and laughter...

Kitty said...

Thanks, Susannah, for being my reader brave enough to comment.

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