Cards and Conversations

Observations about life, people and relationships from the card department.

The (Self) Birthday Card

In the card department the other day, I noticed the birthday section more closely. Why? Because I celebrated my own birthday recently. I had fun contemplating which of the various birthday cards my family and friends would choose for me.

One of the best cards I’ve seen recently says this on the outside:

Happy  ME

             ME

             ME

                   Day!

And on the inside:

Yes, it’s all about you.

On all the other days of the year, I try to live out my morals and think about others more than myself. It’s not easy to do. However, on my birthday, I believe I can claim the day as mine. Time to act like a toddler again, and enjoy it. It’s the one and only day of the year to be indulgent in self-focus, right? I also remember how precious, special and loved I am, too. After all, there’s only one “me!”

I have a close friend who has a tradition of reminding us about her birthday throughout the entire year. On the day after her birthday, the next year’s countdown commences. I’d receive this text: “It’s only 364 days until my birthday!” Then, a couple months later: “Ten months until my birthday!” And again a few more months later: “Guess what’s in six months?” I love my friend’s enthusiasm for her birthday which exemplifies her enthusiasm for life.

This year, I celebrated my “ME ME ME” day by making my own cake, just the way I wanted it. Inspired by a recent cake-decorating class I attended, I designed my cake’s flavor (pound cake), filling (lemon) and icing (vanilla buttercream). Last year’s cake was designed by a friend and was as delicious as it was pretty:

Image

 What’s your favorite way to celebrate “YOU!?”

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The Easter Card

In the card department the other day, a woman spent quite a bit of time finding Easter cards for her four grandchildren. Two were over ten years old and the other two were preschoolers. She wanted cute cards with, you guessed it, bunnies, on the front for the younger children.

What’s with Easter and bunnies? Since when have bunnies started to lay eggs? One source states the Easter bunny legend began in Germany and was brought to America in the 1700’s. I think it’s easier to believe in Santa Claus.

Whether it’s a bunny, a chick or an egg, symbols of fertility and all things spring might be cute and cuddly on a greeting card, but when it comes to the grown-up-sized bunnies for the photo portraits, I think we’ve gone too far.

 
E_Bunny

These characters are fodder for horror novels, in my opinion. I can still remember when my daughter screamed bloody murder every time we came within 100 feet of the dressed-up Easter bunny at the mall. Needless to say, we never participated in the Easter bunny photo experience. I still find it strange to see children pose with a bigger-than-life bunny so they can get the candy and eggs and candy-in-plastic-eggs they desire.

Personally, I prefer my Easter cards to talk about the real Easter story. You know, the amazing love story about how Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead? Yup, that one. Then, maybe we can also talk about marshmallow peeps and egg-shaped chocolate. God’s love and candy. Those are the sweet treats I can enjoy. Those are what I’d like to see on the front of my Easter card. How about you?

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The Encouragement Card

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In the card department the other day, the conversation between a young mom and her toddler gave a sneak preview of the scene I was about to witness.

“Mo-ommm!” Two syllables made the little boy’s point clearer.

“I said ‘no,’ young man, and I mean it. Now put it back.”

“But I want it!”

“No,” she said again, calmly but firmly.

They approached me, the mom with her dark curly hair thrown back into a quick ponytail, and her son, with his same dark curly hair toddling behind her. He was carefully holding a tiny bag of even tinier rubber bands for one of those new bracelet looms. Her response prompted him to object by throwing the bag down. The bag opened and a pile of rubber bands ended up on the floor. Mom was at the end of her rope.

I bent down to help pick up the pieces.

“Thank you,” she said, exasperated.

“Don’t worry,” I said, “I remember those days.”

“This has not been a good trip!” she said.

I’ve had plenty of not-so-good trips. It has been over a decade, but I still remember the days when toting my small children along for what I thought were simple errands required monumental project planning and time management. I’d harbor a tiny sense of hope that this time, things would go smoothly and I’d get done effortlessly, like when I was single and in charge of my life. I remember using the same words to define the experiences as a “good trip” or a “not-so-good trip.” This helped to keep my frustration encapsulated within the boundaries of the trip. Otherwise, it became a not-so-good day, or week, or month, or more.

It was these times, however, that I’d receive just the perfect encouragement card or note in the mail from a friend. A simple “I’m here for you,” or “You’re a great mom,” or, “You’ll get through this” was sometimes all I needed. Those encouragement cards go a long way on the trips that aren’t so great. I think it’s time to send another one out to someone soon. How about you?

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