The Dreaded “Our Year-in-Review” Holiday Card

We all know that holidays can be tough for people dealing with infertility. We brace ourselves for getting attacked from all sides: Family, friends, coworkers… Even though it’s almost always unintentional, everybody throws their kids in your face with great enthusiasm: They’ll tell you what they’re buying the kids for Christmas or Hanukkah. They’ll ask your opinion on what to buy them. They’ll take the adorable items out of the bag and show them to you. They’ll tell you what great deals they got on them. They’ll ask you to accompany them to the mall to shop for them. They’ll invite you to parties where the kids will be running around. They’ll tell you what the kids will wear to the holiday party. “This is their first Christmas.” “This is the first Christmas that they’ll understand what’s going on.” “This is the first Christmas where they’ve been able to tell me what they want.” “This is the first Christmas they’ve helped decorate the tree.” “This is the first Hanukkah they’ve played dreidel instead of putting it in their mouth.” It’s torture. For me, over the many years before and during my bout with IVF, the best way to get over the torture was with more torture. Has anyway ever sent you an “Our Year-in-Review” card?

I love when people mail an actual personalized holiday card. You so seldom get those. Sometimes I only get one from the dentist. Some people integrate the “Our Year-in-Review” right into the card. My friend Lisa cleverly sneaks folded sheets of paper inside the card that turn my holiday smile upside down. If you’ve never received an “Our Year-in-Review”:

The beauty of the “Our Year-in-Review” is that while it still highlights the children, it typically also highlights the most boring, mundane aspects of parenthood. The most entertaining part is that the parents never seem to have a clue how boring and mundane all of this is. So instead of focusing solely on our situation and that every other living soul in the world apparently has kids during the holidays, we can shift our focus to how incredibly dull our friends have become.

People never sum up their whole year of tedium in one sentence:

“Our Year-in-Review”: 2016 was a great year for the Gibsons! Hope it was for your family too!”

No, they have to go month by excruciating month. And of course they have to highlight the dullest details they can dig up.

Our Year-in-Review

January:

“Leslie started gymnastics! (How unique of her.) The teacher says she’s a natural! Maybe she’ll be in the 2018 Olympics!”

(Does everything require an exclamation point? What is this, US magazine? And of course there is only the winter Olympics in 2018. I’m only up to January and already I have a dilemma. Was she serious about the Olympics? Should I casually mention that Leslie can either take it easy because she has an extra two years to practice or learn how to do the balance beam in a parka?)

February

“Gymnastics are still going super super super well for Leslie! She also started dance class! (And?) She takes tap, jazz, and modern! The teacher says she’s a natural! (Imagine that.) Maybe she’ll be on “So You Think You Can Dance!”

(Or maybe “Cops” getting cuffed for selling crack: Rebelling for being forced into a life of extra-curricular activities at a tender age.)

March

Stephen is on the honor roll!

(Which of course brings up the elephant in the review: Nary a word about the honor roll anywhere else in the card enclosure. Is mother implying that Stephen was an imbecile the other eleven months?)

If you’ve got to send us this nonsense, could you at least throw us a bone and include some of the juicy stuff?

January: My husband Frank nearly drove us all into a tree watching our twenty year old neighbor in size zero jeans cross the street.

February:  I tried to return an ugly night gown that Frank bought me for Christmas. The manager at JC Penney said I waited too long. I got a little upset and security escorted me out. It was really no big deal. Made the local paper though. The cover. Continued on A-3.

March:  Got the phone bill. Our son Stephen apparently racked up $1200 calling 1-900-lick this.

But nobody ever gives us anything like that to hold us over until the next year. Every December I walk to the mail box like I’m walking to the electric chair. The driveway is my green mile. I open up the mailbox and take out the contents, my hands trembling: A bill, good. Another bill, good. Another bill, good. A greeting card from Lisa. I know her handwriting. I suck in my breath. The envelope is unnaturally thick. I’m pretty sure she’s enclosed neither a check nor a gift card. I open it up right there on the driveway. Let’s rip off that Band-Aid as fast as possible. And I see several folded sheets of paper in the envelope which are about to punish me for all of her boring BS that, for twelve months, I successfully ignored on Facebook. Shoot me.

(Thanks for stopping by! I hope you feel a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you’d like a few laughs while going through infertility during these holidays, I’d be honored if you’d consider my little eBook: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman’s Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. Downloaded by thousands. Reviewed by a few dozen. Click book cover below or: http://laughingisconceivable.com) 

 

3 thoughts on “The Dreaded “Our Year-in-Review” Holiday Card

  1. I have only received one letter ever! Everyone seems to send me just a picture with a simple message. Nothing even handwritten. I wonder if I get the simple cards because I don’t send them myself, and people save the stories for people who also send out cards… I guess I am on people’s naughty-instead-of-nice lists.

  2. “1-900-lick this” had me laughing out loud!

    I used to respond to newsy family letters with tales of my travels. I called it my Christmas revenge.

    It’s so odd to get these details from some people when for the rest of the year these people don’t give me any information about their children or their lives.

    1. Hi Mali! And, just like on FaceBook, most everyone’s life in the year in review is heavily edited and homogenized… a boring fairy-tale. I know I should just be grateful that people bother to send me anything. My old college friend used to send me one every year until I once said to her: “Who are these people? This isn’t your life. What happened to the part where your son got suspended from school?” Ever since then she sends me just photos. xo

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