A confession: I generally am really bad about regularly keeping up with my friends; for this reason, I think, I am fastidious about sending out Christmas cards. In fact, I'm not sure how many years running I've sent cards out, but I think it's decades; suffice to say I began this habit long before Marcus and I were ever married. At this point, I actually have a little tradition: every weekend after Thanksgiving, I sit down with my address book and a stack of Christmas cards, and start writing. My goal is always to have them all done before December 1st.
(For the record, I'm running late this year. Also for the record, this would not be the first ... or second ... or third time I'm doing so.)
Anyway, every year, I go through every page of my address book, reviewing the entries. Admittedly, there's an aspect of the exercise that makes me a little sad: there is always a certain number of addresses in my book of people to whom I know I won't be sending a card. A few, to be honest, are those with whom I've parted ways over the years, and sending a card wouldn't feel right. But there are also a few who have, sadly, passed on. And a handful are friends who moved and I don't have their forwarding address, and previous years' cards I sent them came back marked "no longer at this address."
But then, there's the awesome part: the walk down memory lane that the rest of the entries in my address book allows me to have. In addition to our families, of course, there are some people who will always receive a Christmas card from me: my friends who I see or keep up with regularly, naturally, but also my best friend from my twenties who I haven't seen in ages, who now lives in Belgium with her husband and daughters, and with whom I exchange cards and eager notes about our lives every Christmas. I send cards to a couple of ex-boyfriends who have remained good friends, and one I actually haven't seen since we were in high school, but who has always remained on my list, at this point more out of habit than anything else. I send one to a former boss who I haven't seen in years. To friends of Marcus' who we haven't seen in almost a decade, but who were enthusiastic participants in our wedding, and who we always think of fondly. And obviously, to new friends who have become important to us over the recent months.
Ultimately, the entire exercise makes me realize how lucky I've been to have crossed paths with every single person in my book. And I think it has finally occurred to me that beyond my (arguably obsessive) practice of sending out these little cards, it's even more important to reflect on those who have crossed my path in my life, in whatever capacity, and send them good thoughts, prayers and wishes. To take some time to hope that they are all at peace, or, at the very least, no matter where each of them is, that their worlds are full of love. And to mean it.
I mean, I suppose it's important to do this no matter what time of year it is, but it feels especially so at Christmastime, you know?
Image: Photographed with my Nikon D300, 50mm lens. aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/100, ISO 320