Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reprising Connections

Every year after the Christmas decorations are down and whatever we call normal life returns, I take a few moments to re-read all the Christmas cards I received.

This year the cards were especially important – I needed objects to hold, to admire, to make me smile. Email messages just can’t do that, or at least not as well.

My favorite is of course the one my brother created – a thing of beauty at a time of incalculable loss.

Then the four pieces of paper adorned with colored scribbles and glitter that were folded into ‘cards’ from the daycare kids who helped decorate my tree.

Some were extraordinarily beautiful: silver trees from UNICEF, a photograph of a Marsh Tit (that’s a bird) from my friend in England, and cards from a friend in Australia, and another in Switzerland.

This year, for the first time, I received cards from my sister-in-law’s family. We got to know and appreciate each other because of our shared loss. And my California cousins are closer now because we connected during a summer visit.

A new friend wrote a great tribute. An old friend reminded me of our deep connections. I even got a card from someone who used to work for me. How cool is that?

And I received two cat cards, both depictions of Christmas tree disasters (which, fortunately, did not occur this year) and both funny.

I’ve put most of them back in the basket. I won’t recycle them yet. It is so good to have them to go through again – to hold, to laugh, to smile – to treasure each connection.

I hope this tradition (and the U.S. postal service) never ends.

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