Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Christmas card list

When my daughter was born, just over a week before Christmas last year, much to the amusement of family and friends it was vitally important to me to write Christmas cards and include her on them. I had our cards in my hospital bag and my parents were dispatched, the day she was born, to get me multiple copies of a picture of the baby to include in the cards and many stamps to bring back the next day. Each evening when my husband left our bedside he did so with envelopes to post.

It's not just that I wanted to share our good news, though that too, but I wanted to write our daughter's name again and again and in doing so confirm her existence. We, the three of us, wish you a merry Christmas.

This year we've become that vomit inducing family who puts a picture of our child on the front of our cards. It's a sticker of her on a swing and not a printed picture and certainly not a posed family shot but still, I make myself want to throw up. Somebody shoot me.

It's second nature to me now to write my daughter's name in cards. It's no longer new. My hormones no longer rule my actions, or not all the time anyway. But that we can do so, and sign her name, and send best wishes from us all, still feels incredibly important. It's why I think those friends we've not seen or spoken to since the last card remain on the Christmas card list and us on theirs. Not because they need to receive our card, but because we need to send them. Because the act of writing, the act of signing a name and sending it out there into the world, it proves you exist, that you're part of something, that you're still here.

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