When you look up “overachiever” in the dictionary, you won’t see my face. Mostly because there usually aren’t faces included in word definitions — but even if it was a pictorial dictionary, my face would not appear with that particular word.
It might appear under “procrastinator” or “dawdler,” but not “overachiever.” Nope.
So imagine my surprise when several of my friends called me that.
What? The people in this world who know me best called me that ? I was shocked. Why would they be hurling such accusations my way?
Do overachievers run out of wall paint halfway up the stairs and wait over a year to finish it?
Do overachievers hot glue the finishing touches on Halloween costumes as the kid is walking out the door for trick-or-treating?
Do overachievers watch marathons of — well, just about anything instead of, well — just about everything?
I reminded them of this, but they pointed out one glaring fact: My Christmas cards are done.
Not from last year; those were mailed just like they have been for the last 19 years — on the day before Thanksgiving.
This year, the picture of the kids, all wearing matching outfits, has been taken. The best pose has been selected, cropped, retouched and coordinated to a photo card. Those cards have been ordered, received and will be ready to be mailed on the day before Thanksgiving. With addresses and stamps and everything!
This fact is what sent me to Overachievingland.
I have to say, it’s kind of freaky there. It’s not my natural habitat, not my factory settings at all. How did I get there?
Answer: Brian. Opposites attract and all that razzmatazz.
Next question: How do I get out?
Don’t get me wrong; having this done is nice, it lightens the list of things to do during the nuttiness that is the holidays. Plus, knowing that we are the first card that our people get sort of makes me giggle. But I couldn’t stay there! I didn’t belong in Overachievingland! I belong in Mediocreland, or Underachieverville — I had to convince them where I belong and get back home!
And I did.
How? I explained how the photo was taken: The (not so) subtle reminders began on Labor Day. Eventually, on a pretty fall day in late September, I told the kids to find a shirt color that they all had in common, throw it on with jeans and get in the minivan.
Several hours, my entire cuss vocabulary, too many bribes to count, many cross-sibling punches and more than 100 digital frames of photos later we had only two contenders. My vote was for one that captured the essence of the experience and the personalities of my kids. Mr. Opposite liked the one that reflected his roots in Organized Town and Act Together County.
Three weeks of back and forth and his reminding me that this was the latest that we have ever ordered cards, I gave in and agreed with his choice. He stood over me while I ordered them to make sure my cursor didn’t land on a social media site instead.
He knows me so well.
Now he will address them and put the cards with the three smiling and seemingly loving children in the mail on the day before Thanksgiving. Like all of family life: it’s a team sport.
I did not get to Overachievingland alone. It was nice to visit but I ran back to my comfortable place as soon as I possibly could.
Although I think I might have to go back. Brian says Christmas shopping needs to be started.
For more of Susan Vollenweider’s writing, go thehistorychicks.com.