Friday, December 17, 2010

The Christmas Card

Got a Christmas card in the mail this week from an old friend from college. We’d kept in touch for years, then she moved and I lost track of her. She found me again and caught me up on all the changes in her life: dumped old (and longtime) boyfriend, moved, got a new job, found a new boyfriend, bought a house. Big stuff.

Sat down to write her back and didn’t know quite where to begin. Back when we were exchanging Christmas cards faithfully, all mine contained was the yearly photo – no words, other than our names and perhaps, “Merry Christmas.” Now I’m feeling like I want to really catch up, but not sure what she wants to hear, what will overwhelm her, what she’ll understand, and how important any of it really is anyway.

How do you possibly explain the life of a stay-at-home mom of two children, one with significant challenges, challenges that consume your days, your nights, your sleep, your weekends, your every everything? And even if you manage to do that, how do you not sound completely crazy? My life and I don’t sound that crazy to those “on the inside,” but to someone that doesn’t walk this walk, not even a little bit, it must.

I finally decided to bullet point my life since college, the highlight reel, so to speak. I decided not to try to explain the inexplicable. Not to try to get her to understand my life anymore than I can possibly understand what its like to be 47, never married, never have kids. I can imagine, but I cannot understand. What I finally understood is that I’ve put way too much time and energy into getting others to understand what they simply cannot. It’s not that they won’t, it’s that they can’t.


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