December 26, 2011

The Significance of Exchanging Holiday Cards

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is receiving Christmas cards from friends and family, particularly those that I haven't heard from in the past year.  There's something sacred and intimate about sending and receiving during this time of year, when life is so busy and hectic, that we take the time to handwrite our best wishes and news updates for the past year to the people in our lives we care about.  It may be the only time of year we take the time to exchange these niceties, which is why the exchange of holiday cards is so special. 

For almost as many years as I have been sending out holiday cards in my adult life, I have been sending a card to my former 4th grade teacher, Miss Levesque.  I hate to cast favorites, since I have had many good teachers (as well as some rather crummy ones) in my student career, but Miss Levesque wins 1st Prize, which is in part why out of the 35 or so cards I send out (which were probably even less this year), she is a recipient every holiday season.

Though the messages we exchange are not long, Miss Levesque and I share with each other the goings-on for the past year -- where we've been, what we're doing, where we're going -- and more importantly the shared sentiment of wishing each other a happy holiday and a healthy new year.  Every year I look forward to her card written in her idyllic, old-fashioned scroll, exactly how I remembered it from well over a decade ago. 

This year Miss Levesque's card contained a rare treat -- a photograph of my 11-year-old self, standing next to my science fair project that year entitled, "Observing Different Kinds of Hair Under a Microscope."  Wearing a headband and a purple t-shirt (how I loved that t-shirt -- I wore the thing 'til it had holes in it!), bangs cut into wispies like Vada Sultenfuss from My Girl, that was the year of the microscope for me, as well as the year for tween shyness when everything seemed to make me blush.  It's quite amazing to think how a photo can contrast and compare with how we remembered such a time in our lives.

With Christmas behind me, and a New Year fast approaching, I am thankful for the people in my past, present, and future, particularly people like Miss Levesque who are part of my past and continue to be part of my present and future life, even through a simple exchange of a card at Christmastime, in the years ahead.

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