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The Holiday Cards I Never Send

CIMG0542I’ve started getting holiday cards with smiling faces of families and holiday greetings in the mail.

They arrive in brightly colored envelopes of red and green and silver.

Sometimes they make me smile.

I enjoy seeing updated pictures of friends and family. It’s fun to see how the kids have grown over the year for families who live many miles away that that I rarely get to see. I like reading the family update letters often included and hearing what they’ve been up to throughout the year.

These cheery pictures and busy updates also make my heart ache.

I never send holiday cards.

I ache to have my own family holiday cards with happy (and probably silly) photos of my little family to share. I long to be able to write all our names along the bottom – with love from Emily, Ryan, Grace and Lily and the four-leggeds (because my kids would have pets to play and cuddle with).

It hurts my heart too deeply to send cards empty of my family’s images and signed only by me. I never had the chance to send a holiday card with pictures and updates with any of my family members. They all died before the holidays ever came around to create them.

I tried one year to send picture-less cards to those I loved. Tears flowed every time I signed my name and saw it there alone.

With every card that comes in my mailbox, come delight and grief in equal measure. Gratitude for those I love and the beauty of their families and the longing of my heart thumping painfully with every envelope of red and green and silver.

Every year I can’t help but wonder,

What would life be had they lived?
Who would they be?
What would the holidays be like with my family here with me?

You may never notice the absence of my little family’s card in your mailbox.

But I do.

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