I just read perhaps the best Christmas letter ever.
I know, I’m behind again, it’s New Year’s, and here I am still catching up with Christmas. This letter was sitting on the table which is full of gloves, bags, Christmas bulbs, an anatomy book, a wind chime, a super anti-darkness full spectrum light that looks like a warp between a 1970s portable TV and a Star Wars droid. So I didn’t see the letter until today, and might not have looked at it because my new s.o is sensitive about having his things moved around.
(Actually he complained vehemently about missing articles once, I got blamed, he apologized, but I am sensitive, and don’t like repeated conversations like this. He’s here, and it’s a long story, and I hope it works, but that’s for later).
The letter is from my s.o.’s father and his third wife. They are tremendously old by my standards. My new beau’s parents and their subsequent spouses are all alive well into their 80s. How do people live that long? How is it possible that he can call his parents on holidays? I haven’t done that since 1992. They even send money, as if I am a little child newly born into the family and they need to start my college savings. It’s sweet.
This letter, the one I read this morning, is the rarest of items, an honest Christmas letter. They have moved finally into a supervised cottage, with elder care. They are away physically from the main facility, the “action”, and so feel lonely and say the adjustment is difficult. The activities they enjoyed once are memories: hiking, biking, fishing. They submit the humility of age; working for gratefulness, assisting one another.
After years of “my perfect family, my Harvard bound daughter, my piano prodigy son, my football hero, my handsome and loving husband, my flawless skin and my recent jaunt up Mt. Everest” here is the truth. Life brought down to the essential elements. And bravely sent out into the world to a limited audience who is presumed able to manage the truth.
I wonder how I will do. I don’t know that I’m made of the same stuff.