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Shannon Brady

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Serially lost in the mail (part 1 of 3): Holiday cards

*Note: this post is part of a 20-day writing prompt 101 program I’m participating in. Today’s Prompt: “Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

Return to Sender

Return to Sender

Every December, I designate a wall in my kitchen to adhere cards to. Glittery snowmen and reindeer leaving a permanent residue on my palms upon opening. Nativity scenes reminding me to get thee to midnight mass. Happy Hanukkah hellos. Belated New Year’s cards from well-meaning procrastinator pals who didn’t make the year’s-end deadline.

I love them all. Especially the cherub face kiddos sitting atop Santa’s lap either smiling or wailing. My Holiday wall represents the ever-growing sphere of love and human connections made. And with each cup of morning Joe, and each final dish put away at night, I admire my wall. My friends. My family. My blessings.

Sadly, though, my special wall is shrinking with each passing year. And not because my pals are emailing or Facebooking their Seasons Greetings in (OK, a few are, but most of my pals take the old school pen-to-paper card route). Not because they’ve quit the yearly ritual. My pals are resilient! Neither marathon gift wrapping sessions nor the dog ate the fruitcake episodes will halt their scribble/stuff/and seal Holiday card routines.

I can’t blame my postal carrier either. Neither sleet nor snow, right? I’ve evidenced enough activity happening in my mailbox during shit weather to know I can’t blame the messenger.

Nope. I have only myself to blame. You see, I keep moving. For the past five years, I’ve filled out an address change form. Every year. Five addresses in five years. Seattle. Baltimore. Princeton. Exton (no, you probably haven’t heard of it). Now Somerville, MA. My pals can’t keep up. “Shan, where’d ya move to now?” At some point, after receiving yet another yellow-labeled ‘return-to-sender’ sticker on their aborted Holiday card, my pals strike me from their annual card list.

But here’s the thing. They still love me. Still email me. Still call. And still know that my five moves in five years has served a much bigger purpose than admiring a kitchen wall once a year. The past five years have opened my eyes and my heart to a bigger, more passionate way of living. And soon, soon, I’ll stay put.

And start filling up my kitchen wall in December once again.

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7 comments on “Serially lost in the mail (part 1 of 3): Holiday cards

  1. Jill Kuhn says:

    Your writing is wonderful! Loved your story – well done! 🙂

  2. Greg Weaver says:

    Made me sad…

    Greg gregorylweaver@gmail.com 267-400-0136

  3. Very original take on the prompt.

  4. Kathy Dodds-Fitton says:

    We have happily received your Christmas cards over many years…decades. As a reader of DoYouYoga, I recognized you as Doug’s cousin. (I also love/practice yoga). I always welcomed your smiling photo cards – and can relate to your many moves – we’ve stayed in 4 places in the last 9 months – although are somewhat settled now. Love your sense of adventure. Kathy

    1. So great to hear from you Kathy! Thanks for reading 🙂

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