I sent my first photo-collage Christmas card. It wasn’t my original intention. I am still uncomfortable with such demonstrations because I have had at least a hundred of those little grenades land in my mailbox over the years of trial and tragedy; I didn’t want to be the shrapnel wedged in someone else’s infertility at possibly the rawest time of year. I examined the list carefully, and it seemed safe: already-parents, post-menopausal aunts, young and unmarried cousins too focused on graduate school to worry about babies. I had my stash of photo-free cards on-hand in case of risk.
I defaulted to the photo card because I have been sick, literally, for a month. This has set me back at work such that the grading stacks are growing while the holiday season amps up the errands and chores on the personal end. I just could not picture myself sitting at the table and handwriting forty cards and envelopes, particularly since imminent shower invites expanded my list substantially. I tossed the photos together one morning before school at 4am, realizing that I have been terribly camera-shy while pregnant! (Note: take more belly pics for posterity.) I had the cards rushed and filled out all the addresses from 1-3am on Friday night during one of my many pregnancy-induced spurts of wee-hours productivity.
Despite the pragmatism of my motives, I was awash in something else when they arrived in the mail: the distinct feeling of finally being included in this family-centric world that has been thrumming blithely behind my tragedies all these years, and that reminds me of the several couples I know who are still struggling and receiving these exploding holiday cards en masse. I wish, I wish that we could discover a way for the lucky ones to enjoy their fortune without alienating couples who yearn for membership but feel hopelessly excluded.