Every year I say the same thing: I’m going to get my Christmas cards out early this year. I’m going to be über-organized, like all the other people. So I get back from Thanksgiving break and what do I find in my pile of mail? A Christmas card! It’s the one that always arrives first, year after year, like a kick in the backside, reminding me that the race is on. The holiday greeting card clock is now ticking--loudly. Okay, people, couldn’t we at least wait until the first week in December? I don’t have my cards yet, but unlike last year (and the previous ten) I actually have the picture. My friend Oliver took a great shot of the girls--and Angus-in October. I told him then and there that that would be my card. Which is why I thought I’d be one of the early ones this year. But who am I kidding? Even if I get the cards and envelopes early, I know myself. I’ll lose my list or I won’t have stamps, or I’ll drum up some other excuse and wait until the last minute. I’m a last-minute mom. It’s my M.O. Am I proud of it? No. Do I accept it? It is what it is. Or, rather, it is what it isn’t. And what’s wrong with that? Why do we beat ourselves up trying to send the perfect pictures at the perfect time? Why the self-imposed pressure? Are people really studying the photo? Do they really care that you can’t see my dog’s shiny black coat and golden eyes, as was the case in last year’s photo. This year is a different story: Angus looks the best in the photo (you can bet my girls are none too pleased about this). Right, and I’m sure everyone is going to notice. They might even stay up late thinking about it. Wow, Page’s dog has THE prettiest eyes. And did you see the font on that card? When you get right down to it, we are the only ones microscopically studying our own cards. I think about how many cards come flying through the mail slot. I rip them open, give the card a glance, and save the envelope so I can get the address off the back. (Obviously, keeping a list on my computer would be way too efficient.) Other than thinking, that’s a beautiful family, or that child looks just like her mom, or, bless her heart, she must be going through an awkward phase, I don’t obsess over the cards. I will admit to getting a chuckle from some, particularly the brag sheets touting the accomplishments of little darlings: So and so is captain of such and such, and so and so made honors, etc. A friend once told me she was thinking of putting this on a greeting card: “My son is a solid C student and my husband and I are in counseling.” What would the people think of that? Frankly, they probably wouldn’t notice. My point, exactly. I’ll try to remember this come Christmas Eve when I’m still licking envelopes.