It was the best of years; it was the worst of years, but in the annual Christmas Round Robin you will get either only the best or waaaay too much information. Know what I mean? This is where truth either gets hidden away or dissected into enough detail to make one nauseous. We used to receive a round robin from someone who regularly psychoanalyzed each of his children. My husband and I felt such immense embarrassment on his kids’ behalf. We eventually stopped getting those letters, and I often wonder if mutiny wasn’t the reason. And then there are the letters that detail the medical procedures and illnesses of the past year. Honestly, I don’t mind hearing THAT someone was ill, but I don’t need to see more details than even the doctor’s report would contain. (One is bound to think here of the blog entitled ‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’, which received a lot of criticism for telling too much too widely. I want to address that in a different post because it is a special case.)
I will readily admit to being guilty of the candy coating newsletter, and to secretly rejoicing when someone does mention that things haven’t gone well (albeit not in great detail). We have been taught “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all”, and it IS Christmas. So, yes, I have left out the bad news. Sometimes – as catharsis – I write two letters: One about all the bad things that happened to us; and one about the good. The ‘bad’ letter sometimes sounds like it came right out of horror movie – honestly. Be grateful you were spared receiving it. When a Round Robin is honest enough to say, ‘Well, we had a car accident’ or ‘Our great plans were thwarted by illness’, etc., outwardly, I’m saying, ‘Oh I am sorry.’ Inwardly, there is a little fist-pumping ‘Oh yeah!’ taking place. Why? Because it makes me feel normal. Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful and their two little wonders have problems also! I am certain some recipients of my letters have felt that we are the “Wonderful” family. My apologies.
So where is the mercy in this truth-telling tug-of-war? How should we send ‘Glad Tidings’ and update those who care about us without either making them feel ‘lower on the evolutionary ladder’ or embarassed at our ‘airing the dirty laundry’ in a wide-cast net?