Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mailing it in

I'm shocked my husband and I have any friends left. The problem is, we are tired all the time. And we're forgetful and perpetually overwhelmed. Translation:  We're terrible about returning calls, we're too tired to entertain, and our long distance correspondence is nonexistent. The whole gift-giving thing around the holidays pushes us well beyond our capabilities. We once showed up to a holiday dinner at a friend's house, after mentioning we would not be exchanging gifts that year due to a job layoff, to find beautiful gifts waiting for us. It was too late to make a mad dash to a store, so we sucked it up, ate their food, accepted their generosity and left. Awkward.

Our dysfunction originates from the core of our existence. Our home. It's an unfixed fixer-upper with never-ending projects. Environmental chaos. Our happy home is enhanced by a large, big-toothed "crazy-eyed" dog that barks psychotically at every person who has the unfortunate experience of driving down our street. In reality, our dog is afraid of kittens and truly can't jump the picket fence because of an artificial hip and leg injury from an accident that happened before we adopted her. You'll have no trouble at all outrunning her. Plus, once you are safely inside my front door, you will be fed well and offered an assortment of live animals to warm your feet. Not all of them bite.

As I empty our mailbox of holiday cards and letters, I find myself more than a little surprised by the loyalty of my friends.  I appreciate their ability to look past the fact that my husband and I seldom remember to send thank you notes or birthday cards. We've never sent out a holiday card with a family update. I don't have a mailing list. Alas, when my cell phone dies, so will the numbers of just about everyone I know. I keep no records, and I'm not much of a numerical memorizer.

I do feel guilty. Perhaps instead of sending out a New Year's card (something I fantasize about doing but I have never actually done), my husband and I should send out a blanket apology letter addressing our negligent behavior over the past two decades. Something like this:

Dear Family and Friend(s):
If you are receiving this, it is because we consider you a friend and we recognize that compared to you, our family sucks in the manners department. Perhaps one day we will be able to make it up to you, but please don't hold your breath. In addition to lacking basic organizational skills, we tend to buckle under pressure. 

We know that if you have stuck around through our flaky behavior, you must really care about us. Even though we don't always show it, we care about you, too. If you haven't stuck around but are still receiving this letter, it is because we deserve your wrath and disdain, we acknowledge your hurt feelings, and we want to offer you a sincere apology and let you know that we didn't pick on you personally. We treat all our friends like this. And we're sorry.

So here you go, this is an official letter off apology to all we have offended. I'd suggesting keeping it, perhaps even framing it, because it may be another two decades before we get around to doing another one. And, trust me, in two decades we'll owe all of you another one.

Remember the thank you note you got from us for that wonderful gift you sent? No? We want you to know that your gift and gesture was fully appreciated. We loved it, and probably still do love it. Unless it was wine or candy or homemade cookies, then I'm sure we loved it at some point in time, but now it is long gone and if I remember correctly, it was super delicious.

The clothes, scarves, bath robe, hair accessories and jewelry have all been worn and admired. The lotions and scrubs used and appreciated. The gift cards spent and enjoyed. The toys played with by the kids and probably the adults, too. 

Mostly, though, we want to offer our support if life is treating you like crap. Those are the calls and cards we most regret not doing. To those of you whom this applies, know we keep you in our thoughts and are always hoping for the best.

For those of you who are wondering about us, here's an update:

Grandma Lonna is still kickin and not taking crap from anyone. The doctors keep telling us she is going to die. It could be any day. Obviously, someone forget to tell Grandma because she is back to chugging around town in her Volvo, moving boulders single-handedly from one end of her garden to the other, and attending her twice a week Yoga class. If you're in her neighborhood, remember to look both ways before you cross the street and run like hell if you see her coming.

Our kids are thriving, and sucking every last penny and bit of energy out of us. Alex is a passionate musician and math whiz. He is taking clarinet lessons. We often start our mornings at 6:00AM to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad" in the highest octave possible. We wish you were here to enjoy it with us. 

Erika is still doing gymnastics, training over twenty hours per week. That doesn't include the physical therapy for her knee or the massage and ice treatments before bed. Somehow, she fits in homework and continues to excel at everything she does. Except for ball sports. If throwing her a ball, please don't aim for the face, because that's usually where the ball hits first before she considers catching it with her hands.

Our family's contribution to society - we are doing our best to help with the water shortage. Our landscaping requires zero water and provides tons of free fertilizer. You guessed it, we still have seven rabbits. They won't die. They have eaten everything, and I mean EVERYTHING in my backyard, to include a peach tree and a lemon tree. My idea for making Tur-rabbit on Thanksgiving was vetoed by the rest of the family. Bummer, because I'm pretty sure I could have fit three rabbit carcasses inside the twenty-five pound turkey I cooked. I would have found a way.

We hope this nonexistent letter, that will never be mailed, and perhaps would be seen as the biggest offense from our well-meaning little family, finds you well and happy. Dear friends, know you are loved and appreciated, and we'd like to wish all of you a wonderful 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015...


1 comment:

  1. If I were one of those people who has faithfully been sending you unrequited birthday/Christmas/etc. cards for years, I would love to receive a letter like that. You should totally do it, if it weren't so against character for you.