Sunday, May 2, 2010

When Christmas Cards Come Back to Haunt You

A funny thing happened to me the other day at the park.

Yes, I know you readers are already rolling your eyes. How many blog posts have I started with these words: "A funny thing happened..."?

Anyways, my children were running around the playground while I was doing what I do best - talking. To just about any adult who would talk to me. Small talk really. Any crumb one would give me (unless they want to talk about my $4 belt - I have nothing else to say on the subject.).

"Oh she's cute. How old is she?"

"Your little guy is very verbal for his age, isn't he?"

Then, another mom tipped her head to the side and said, "I recognize you."

"Hmmm....really?" I laughed nervously, for a few reasons. 1) I was supposed to know her and didn't; 2) she thought I was the clone and was about to launch into some conversation about vaginal bleeding that I knew nothing about; or 3) she was a blog reader who was about to be sorely disappointed in the real, not-so-witty version of Karen.

It was quiet for a moment, me holding my breath and her trying to recall my face.

"Oh!" she snapped her fingers. "You're on the bulletin board at my pediatrician's office!"

This was news to me. Was it some kind of "Wanted" posted for giving my children a little cold medicine before that one airplane flight? Or for all the gum Sugs had swallowed over the years?

"I am?" Another nervous laugh.

"Well, not just you," she clarified. "Your whole family. I recognize your kids too."

Then, I remembered.

Our family Christmas card.

Do you send one to your pediatrician? The kind, nurturing doctor who welcomed your babies into the world? Apparently, they posted ours for all the other patients to see. And this, I believe, was a wise thing for any pediatrician to do. Every self-doubting, worried, tired parent will walk by our Christmas picture tacked so firmly to the bulletin board in the hallway and think to themselves, "Well, we're bad. But not that bad."

Our family's self-sacrificing for this town knows no bounds. We just love and love and love around here. And they just laugh and laugh and laugh at us. Glad we can be therapeutic to others. Next week, I'm going to staple my eyebrows to the carpet and let the children surf on my backside for a while, just so other parents feel better about themselves.

Until then, I'll be the lady at the park who is really nice to you, desperate really, until you bring up our goofy Christmas picture, then I'll slunk away a bit deflated. Or I'll try to deflect by asking what you think about vaccinations or immigration.

And if you are the lady who I met at the park, I'm sorry my daughter taught your son how to climb up the outside of the slide and that my nephew pulled his pants down and peed in the wood chips. And I'm sorry that my nervous laugh is so annoying. But hopefully, just when you were starting to feel intimidated by my charming wit or my perfect parenting, you realized I was part of the goofy Christmas card and you suddenly felt better about yourself. Yes, that was my intention.

Laughing at myself and resting in Him,



Anonymous said...

Gives a whole new meaning to "you can dress him up but you can't take him out". Thankfully I swallowed before reading this time. And I'm thinking your status as only wife is definitely safe. K, who is now dying to get on your Christmas card list

Kim said...

I already liked you a whole lot, but this post makes you one of my favorite people on the internet.

First of all, I also am extremely needy for adult interaction. If I can't find it during the day I suck the life out of my husband in the evenings. And after dealing with 100 sixth graders all day he really shouldn't have to deal with that.

And that Christmas card is absolutely amazing. You must have so much fun with your family! And I would have loved to see your kid's reactions when they saw their dad's getup.