For years, David and I were famous for our holiday letter.
Yep, we are “those” people, the ones who send the long Christmas letters (“Front and back!”) telling you about our year. I don’t think we are the obnoxious type who tell you all about the awards we have won and our child prodigy and her many feats of awesomeness. We are far more likely to tell you about how we drove while medicated and rear-ended someone or about how the thing on our leg turned out to be cancer or about how we drank beer with Miles Hunt and the next day he called us at home. Okay, that last bit really was trying to brag, but since the only people we know who would have appreciated it were actually there with us at the time, it didn’t really go over as we’d hoped.
People liked the letters. Some years, I must admit, the name “holiday letter” was particularly appropriate, since they went out at New Year’s or Valentine’s Day or – just once – Easter. Some years they made very little sense; some years they were as funny as heck; one year it was half-holiday letter and half-birth announcement. A friend of a friend once told me he’d always wanted to meet me because he looked forward to reading his friend’s letter from me every year.
But the last year I sent out the letter was in 2007.
It was the end of the summer of 2008 when I first got sick. No doctors knew what was going on at that point; I had lost sensation from the waist down on one side, I had a horrible pain that wrapped from my spine around to my groin, and my skin hurt real bad. (That was for you, Ina.) I could still walk, but it was hard because I couldn’t feel my left foot and I was starting to lose the ability to grip with my toes (so my shoes would fall off, strangely). I tripped and fell a lot. I spent weeks and weeks going from doctor to doctor, having CAT scans and MRIs and various tests, before they finally did the MRI of my upper spine, with contrast, and found “lesions consistent with MS.” Of course, at that time they weren’t calling it MS, since my brain MRI was crystal-clear and I’d had only a single episode. Bets were still on Transverse Myelitis as the culprit. (“It was TM, with the lesions, at T-10 and T-11!”)
But I digress. The problem was that I’d lost the entire Fall of 2008 and I never got around to writing a letter that year. I didn’t even remember it until other people’s cards and letters started rolling in, and I just couldn’t get up the motivation or energy to do it.
Then in 2009, it seemed awkward to write a letter and either a) not mention the whole thing, or b) have to say, “Hi! It’s Lori! Can you believe I got another one-in-a-million health condition you’ve never heard of?!” Sometimes I hate being that girl. You know people are rolling their eyes and commenting to their spouses about how random it was and how of course it had to happen to me.
By 2010, I’d just gotten out of the rhythm of the whole thing. The number of cards and letters we were receiving had dwindled, so in my darker moments I figured people were glad to finally stop getting the dang letter so they could take us off their Christmas card list. In my brighter moments I pretty much figured the same thing.
But not this year! This year I am going to send out a letter! In a timely manner! As soon as I write one! See, now I have an Actual Legitimate Disease That People Have Heard Of, so it’s not so awkward. I can just slide it in as an aside and get on with things. So in case you are one of the people who was glad to draw that line through my name, I am sorry to tell you: I’m back.
Do you write a holiday letter? Do you like to get them? I do. I always beg people to write a letter and send a photo. I scrapbook them all each year.
- I’m grateful! for my little Deb, who was born on this day twenty-nine years ago (What would I ever do without you?), for a very productive evening at home, and for oxygenation.
- I’m lighter! I have made a choice to go to bed at a decent hour every night for the next two weeks and I am looking forward to being well-rested. Tonight I played a game of Agricola with David and Subhan, watched Glee with Q, and cleaned my entire kitchen (leaving no task undone). It looks good and I am proud of myself for my awesome task completion skills.