(Originally written in 2015)
Every year as I was growing up, my mother wrote dozens and dozens of Christmas cards. She had her address book out with names and addresses of friends and family that my parents regularly contacted. She'd go to the store to buy boxes of cards and spent hours writing letters and addressing the envelopes.
I guess I always thought Christmas cards are just what everyone did. We got seemingly hundreds in the mail that my mother would tape to the wall and it was then I knew it was Christmas.
In 2002, we moved to Spring Hill, Tennessee and spent our first Christmas with our two dogs - Rerun and Lucy - born that same year.
As long as I can remember, I've sent Christmas cards to friends and family and tried not to leave anyone out. I changed course a little in 2002 by making my own cards. Not willing to settle for the usual, it takes a bit of effort. Occasionally, there is a year that I simply cannot get them out in time to arrive in mailboxes by Christmas and there was a year or two I relied on a generic digital delivery.
By 2003, more decorations adorned the home... and the dogs. They were less than thrilled about making a picture for the Christmas card but tolerated it long enough to get this shot.
As I look through some past Christmas cards, I couldn't help but reminisce the different chapters of my life. Each one captured just a single moment in time but it's not hard to fill in the gap from year to year thinking of the jobs I had, changes in the family, and - at times - the burdens that I carried on my shoulders.
This collection of cards marks every Christmas I've spent in Spring Hill. It marks the birth of 3 children, the adoption of two dogs, the navigation of jobs in and around Nashville, and a journey through law school. It also marks the making of hundreds of friends for that ever-growing address list.
Reagan came along in 2004. With help from Jennifer Culp at 810 Studios in Decatur, Alabama, we teamed up with Santa to capture Reagan's first Christmas. It was this year that signatures were added to the card with paw prints for the dogs and a footprint for Reagan. Jennifer has helped every year since 2004 to get the family portrait for the Christmas card.
It's 2005 and everyone is a year older.
Then there is Garrett and an added footprint in 2006.