Friday, August 11, 2006

My future?

Lately I’ve been reading Miss Manners’ archived letters at the Washington Post. Naturally, questions about thank you notes and Christmas cards come up quite often. One writer, for example, asked if thank you notes can be skipped when the gifts come during hectic times. Naturally, Miss Manners had to inform that Gentle Reader that busyness is no excuse for neglecting thank you notes. Since most gifts are given specifically at hectic times in people’s lives – for births, weddings, and during the holidays – that rule would ensure that no thank you notes are ever required.

Given my tendency to borrow trouble, I started to think about having to write thank you notes for baby gifts after the baby is born. I also started to wonder how I’d manage to send out Christmas cards this year since I will have a three-month-old by then. Now I’m not trying to weasel out of anything; nor am I implying, “Oh, poor me, I’ll have a baby and can therefore do nothing else.” I realize I am not the first woman to ever have a baby, and that life is going to continue to progress even though I have a newborn. No, I bring this up merely as a segue for the following anecdote.

My brother was born in November, and he was seven weeks premature. My mom tells me that he had to eat every two hours, and it took him an hour to eat. Yes, that means my mother was feeding my brother every other hour, all day and all night. This was on top of taking care of the two little girls she already had. Needles to say, she was a bit tired.

Nevertheless, she soldiered on and used one of her precious “free” hours to write Christmas cards. She got stumped while addressing one of them, paused, and asked my father, “What is your mother’s last name again?”

I should probably clarify that my grandmother had not, in fact, remarried after my grandfather died. Nor was she so far ahead of her time that she kept her maiden name two generations before such a thing was even heard of. In short, my grandmother’s last name was the same as my father’s and mother’s.

My father, bless him, took the pen out of my mother’s hand and said, “That’s it. You are going to bed. People are just going to have to go without Christmas cards this year.”

1 comment:

Doktah said...


I promise to include in my gift to you a self-addressed, stamped envelope containing card which includes a thoughtful message to myself about my gift. Also, I will leave a bit of room if you want to add something else, but not so much room that you have to include anything at all if you're feeling too swamped.

I hate to be all feminist-y, but I don't know if Miss Manners lived in the age of women with families and careers. She DEFINITELY didn't live in the age of the e-card. They are the best!