Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Incomplete Christmas Card

I love sending and receiving Christmas cards.  The photos, the paper, the fonts.  Just love them.  Christmas card photos have been a mixed bag the past few years.

Lets start in winter 2009.  First year as a married couple.  We'd had beautiful wedding pics in the summer, so I'm not sure we were even considering sending out a picture.  We were knee-deep in renovations in November and December, and moved on New Years Day.
This is after sledding on 12/31.  What a wreck of a house!

First, there was this exciting one from Fall 2010.  We'd been in our new house for 1 year.  We'd painted (most of) the exterior and put up (most of) the new gutters.  I remember cheerfully hand-making cards and sending out this picture to our family and friends.










Then fall of 2011.  I don't remember for sure if we sent out Christmas cards, but this picture jogged a memory of sending out one... I love this one.
Then Fall 2012. I really clearly remember getting these pics by Bethany. So perfect. This was going to be our last family photo as a family of 2.  I loved these pictures.  I loved the idea that next year we'd have a sweet baby in our arms (or at least a beautiful bump).  I had beautiful photo cards made and was so excited to send them out.



Winter 2013.  We went to snap some photos of our friends, and then Macy returned the favor by taking a couple of us.  I didn't send out cards. The year hadn't gone how we'd expected.  It was a bittersweet year.  We hadn't gotten pregnant.  We were knee deep in Mad Goat building renovations.

I remember half-joking with Sam that we could use a different picture from the photoshoot the year before and no one would know.  We were the same, we looked the same.



THEN, we found out we were expecting shortly after Christmas!  Baby George #1 was with us for several weeks.  And it was a hard and painful year.  We were so glad to have good news in the fall of 2014 that we were expecting again.  We were so ready for a fresh start in 2015.




And then last years. Christmas 2014.  The best one.  We got to announce that we were expecting baby Clive.  He was with us on the couch in those pictures.   We were in the safe zone.  I was a couple weeks into my 2nd trimester by Christmas.  

This time last year, I was so ready for a fresh start in ushering the new year.  2014 was so hard as we had started a business and lost our first baby.  Now, I feel sad thinking of more time passing.  2015 was the best and hardest all at once.  Our first son was born!  And he passed.  (The first part is always overshadowed by the latter).

This year, the photo card just can't capture our family.  It's so incomplete.  The jaded side of me half-jokingly thinks we could go back to the 2012 photos.  After all, it's just us two again.  We can use a picture from before all this.  Before the sad, worn eyes and gray hairs.  Before our hearts were aching so.

Or we could just plaster a card with pictures of our sweet boy smiling, and our family together in his small quiet NICU room.  But, I just know that is still not representing how we are now.  We still had so much hope and life 7 months ago.

But there's a hard beauty in life.  I don't quite understand it, but the rawness is beautiful.  It's beautiful because it's so real.  No pretenses.  It's relate-able.  So, we're putting our hearts out here for you to know that our hearts are so broken.

Any picture will be incomplete.

So many pictures are.  The single friends who don't send out photo cards because perhaps they feel  lonely.  The broken families that just can't take a picture together.  The ones that are separated from their loved ones.  The ones who haven't 'done anything' worthy of showing a picture of.  You know what else is incomplete: the perfect looking family pictures.  Because they don't show it all.  There is no perfect.

Today, I allowed myself to think about it a bit with how time has passed (I don't often do this).  If we'd gotten pregnant right away, we'd have 2+ year old right now.  If our first baby had lived, we'd have a 14 month old.  If Clive had lived, we'd have a 7 month old.   Our arms are so achingly empty and our house is so painfully quiet.  That is our season right now.

Clive will always be a part of our family.  But this Christmas, this is what our family looks like right now.  We can still smile, because we have hope and so much to be thankful for.

Merry Christmas from the George Family.


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