Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I think the worst of Christmas is over for me. Yesterday my shoulder and right arm started cramping up from handwriting notes and addresses onto holiday cards for my friends and family. During lunch, I wrapped all of the FOB's family's gifts and addressed the packages to them. Right after work I sped to the downtown Houston postoffice where I spent 45 minutes in line, dreaming about how I would completely restructure the United States Postal Service if given even a small opportunity.

The first thing I would do would be to follow the trends of EVERY OTHER RETAILER in America around late December and increase the number of staff on the floor during peak times. There were only two cashiers weighing packages and distributing postage. The line was out the door by the time I made it over there. I think I literally started imagining killing someone when one of the cashiers decided to take a break promptly at 5:30pm. I'm sure it really was her breaktime and I'm sure that her union fought long and hard to get her that breaktime and I want her to have it. I just want someone else to come up front while she's gone. That's all I ask. Just more physical bodies looking bored and put-out when I tell them that I also need to buy a book of stamps with my boxes. And maybe some chairs to sit in while we wait. Like the DMV. They have plastic chairs and numbers. Maybe the number system would help the post office and eradicate my strong desire to beat someone over the head with a bubblewrapped envelope everytime I step foot in the building.

This is what Christmas does to me.

Once a year, I try and thank the FOB's family for their gifts to Zac. They send cards and small gifts or money at his birthday and major holidays. The FOB never sends anything and wouldn't even return my phone call when I called to verify HIS address. Nevertheless, I try to support his family's kindness and generosity to my son.

For the past two Christmases, though, it's been difficult for me to muster up enough holiday spirit to send them small gifts and photos of Zac. It almost feels like I'm sending them photos of Zac so they will keep sending us money. Zac isn't for sale and he's not part of the "Sponsor a Child" network (sorry Ms. Struthers). You don't get a picture and update of him for sending me an annualized total of $.80 a day!

See? Bah humbug and all that. As my therapist used to say: "You are being attacked by the 'should syndrome'". I know that I should send photos of Zac to the FOB's family because I want them to stay involved in Zac's life. They don't send money and gifts because they have to: they choose to. I should graciously thank them for that and encourage their generosity by sending a small token of my appreciation. I should keep them informed of Zac's development and not grit my teeth everytime I get a card that says, "I can't wait for you to bring my grandson up to see me again!"

It's unfortunate that moral and social expectations wrapped up in the word "should" don't always reflect how people truly feel. If I was being honest about the holiday season, I would acknowledge that any person, place, or thing that forces me to go to the post office during the month of December should understand why my left eye won't stop twitching until early February.

1 comment:

Dee said...

Thanks so much for reminding me what my post office experience will most likely be like this afternoon. I think next year everyone on my list is getting gift cards.