Our annual Christmas card. I love putting it together. I love getting the girls all dressed up, I love taking the photos, I love picking the perfect card for our perfect photos, and I love sending it out to all of our friends and family, ensuring that at least once a year, I connect with the people we care about the most. It's simply one of the best things I do all year.
It's also, ahem, one of the worst things I do all year. The girls love getting dressed up, but they don't like posing for pictures. Dar is a sweet guy, but it can be tricky to get him to look directly into the camera. Sorting through the list of addresses is fun, but making sure they're updated isn't. Printing the labels and making the mad dash to the post office - really, it's not all that great.
But I wouldn't skip it for the world. I love the finished product, and even the photos that don't make the card are ones that we look back on year after year, making us laugh and remember how much fun (and how much bribery) was involved.
This love-hate relationship reminds me of some of my lupus contradictions - a couple of which I've been able to sort out over the years.
When I was first diagnosed, I wanted people to notice and understand how sick I was. But at the same time, I really didn't want them to notice or understand how sick I was. I wanted to appear strong and resilient, but I also wanted those around me to understand how badly the disease made me feel, emotionally and physically. I struggled to find ways to talk about my illness - either I felt like I was lying when I said I felt great, or I was complaining when I expounded on my woes. I grappled with this for years after my diagnosis, but thankfully, over time, I realized what I needed to do first. Come to terms with the disease myself, and only then could I start helping others come to terms with it - in ways that would help my healing process, rather than hinder it.
Another issue I struggled with was my doctor's intervention. I'd often go to my appointments, desperate for my doctor to do anything he could to alleviate my symptoms. But then when my doctor would really intervene, like drastically upping my medicine, or admitting me to the hospital - I didn't like the consequences that came with it. I wanted to get better, but on my terms, not his. Today, of course, I realize that my doctor's intervention is an integral part of my health and wellness. If it weren't for the checks and balances he offers - with his constant questioning, tweaking, and retooling of my treatment - I wouldn't be here today. Truth is, I offer my own sort of check and balance system right back at him, but that's another post!
So here's to letting those contradictions continue to resolve themselves. Let 2012 bring less upset and more insight. And we'll let these three shining, happy faces remind us of that all year long!