Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Letter Atrocities and Crimes Against Grammar

Oh joy! 'Tis the season for the Christmas letter...

People love to revile the annual Christmas letter, but let's face it, people secretly love it, because they are nosy. I think Facebook and Twitter exist for much the same reason; you may grouse about knowing the small insignificant details and thoughts of an other's daily life, but you log on nonetheless, if only to roll your eyes as you read through the live feed.

We don't get as many as we used to in the era of social media madness, but I look forward to them and find them entertaining, EXCEPT when egregious grammatical and linguistic atrocities are committed. I know I am pickier than most. I write and edit for a living and I usually am careful not to cast stones. You know, that whole "people who live in glass houses" deal. But, sometimes something is so outrageous I can't help but fume, out loud.

Here are a few guidelines if you don't want similarly afflicted grammarians to run around their living rooms arghhing and screaming. Or, maybe you DO want that to happen, and for those people I say...that is SO not cool!!

1. Pretend you understand the concept of a paragraph, or really even BASIC punctuation. One long block of run-on sentences that are done in the stream of consciousness mode just make you look like a rambling silly person. ( I want to use the word "idiot," but we don't use those mean words in our house, and mama is trying to walk the walk)

2. CAPITALIZATION IS FOR prudent EMPHASIS, not for the entire letter. Same applies to bold face.

3. Save the truncations, abbreviations, and texting language for your Twitter posts. If you can't be bothered to spell it out in a letter, honestly, don't send it.

4. Um, basic formatting would be nice.

5. Make sense. That would also be appreciated.

6. If your age does not end in "teen," don't try to use slang. It's just pathetic.

7. I've just about given up on this one in general, but misuse of "their," "there," "they're," etc., is just like fingernails on a chalkboard.

8. If it's not too much trouble: s-p-e-l-l c-h-e-c-k.

I'm not even going to touch content, as that really is subjective, and for me is what makes them so entertaining. So bring on your crazy, inane, boasting Christmas letters, but just exhibit a modicum of care for what goes out there into the world to represent you and your family.

Unless, you want me to consider you an idiot, um I mean silly, silly individual. If so, I'm OK with that. Done.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. Feel free to add your own Christmas letter atrocities in the comments

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Before and After

Becoming a mother makes you keenly aware of the moments before and after. The moments they are born, the moments they smile, and we hope never to experience the moments that they are gone from us. But, they can be gone in a blink...

Yesterday brought the heartbreaking news of a mother plunged into every mother's worst nightmare, when her youngest child was taken in a tragic accident. In one horrific moment her life was forever changed.

I don't think I felt true vulnerability and fear until I had a child. This part of parenthood is the proverbial blessing and curse; my fierce love for my children has heightened my appreciation for the little things in life, but it has also heightened my apprehension of how quickly and alarmingly easily they can be taken from me.

Welcoming our second child has meant handling the challenge of logistically managing an infant and an inquisitive creature of pure impulse who is our two year old. For me, it was the single most terrifying aspect of becoming a mother again. I've handled it by confronting it head on and figuring it out one anxiety ridden moment at a time. I had to make an uneasy peace with not being able to control all situations all the time by digging deep for a fundamental faith that my children are first God's children, and they are merely given into my flawed care for a time.

I look into their little perfectly beautiful faces, and pray, ALOT. I pray that they will be protected, and that I will be divinely guided in their care and keeping so that they are able to do what they have been placed here to do. But it doesn't prevent my heart from stopping regularly, such as it did when my husband relayed how my son had very nearly stepped into traffic on a solo outing with my him yesterday morning. Nor does it ease the sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach, such as that I felt (and feel) when I heard of the tragedy of another mother and family the very same day.

Because, it could have been me. How very different that moment for my family could have been.

In the craziness of my daily life, I try to take time each day to appreciate this, and to not live in fear, but in gratitude that I have them another moment. And my heart bleeds for the mothers who do not.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Emerging from the Maternity Cocoon

Greetings from mommy-land! Over the past several months I took time out to welcome a new son into our family, and now that he has just passed through the "fourth trimester," I am starting to emerge from the maternity cocoon. Now I'm starting to feel like I have a bit of a handle on our day to day lives, and recently that certain writing "itch" has been returning. So I'm back, although I doubt that I will be as prolific as before due to the challenges of managing my expanded family, as well as new focus on activities for my nearly-preschool first son, but I don't think that's a bad thing. The second child has brought a certain sharpened focus to my day to day life, and I think that my writing will also benefit.

So, what seems relevant to me these days? Well, I have to say, I'm hopelessly adrift when it comes to the health care debate, which alarms me I can tell you. I'm also really disconnected from the debate because of the political brouhaha that makes the warring proposals harder to keep track of than the current count of Tiger's mistresses! I don't think I'm alone, and I think that it is pretty troublesome because the implications for generations to come are pretty significant, so it feels plain wrong to be out of the loop, but who can blame the American public for just glazing over..."Anyone, Anyone? Bueller, Bueller?"

Additionally, I followed very closely the coverage of the H1N1 (swine) flu, and the vaccine. Kind of happy NOT to have written during the height of the furor, because I think my head would have exploded in frustration. Ultimately, I came away from that whole situation understanding on a deeper level just how much one misses if one simply watches the evening news, and losing some respect for the state of "mainstream" journalists in the process. That's a story for another time.

Value and values have also been dominant on my current curiosity radar. As a newly expanded family, surviving during these tough times, I've been really following some great sources for being thrifty and creative, so as I come across interesting things, I'll also include those in the mix.

Now that my nursling allows me use of more than just one hand to type, I hope to post more often and keep up the quest to stay abreast of the currents that we moms swim in.

Stay tuned...more to come!

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