We all have our quirks and nuances when it comes to picking out the best gift for someone. In my case, it’s not always just about the gift, but more about finding a card that completes it. When I tell my husband I’m in the card aisle shopping for someone, he knows (if he’s talking to me on my cell phone) that it will be awhile and he’ll have time to finish that last chapter on his Kindle and probably even that last level on his video game too. I’m that person who can easily spend hours, reading through and contemplating the artwork of each card until I find “the one” that fits the occasion and the person I’m giving it to. My husband, on the other hand, is perfectly content in skipping the card altogether..buying a gift and (if the recipient is lucky) attaching a name tag to the said gift. “Cards are expensive” he always says to me. “Instead of spending $5 on a card, put that money toward the gift “, is what he usually interjects, at the end of our conversations regarding the great debate on the significance and value of a card.
As I reflect on my husbands comments and the gesture of buying someone a card, I can’t help but ask myself why I treasure the cards I’ve given and received throughout my own life. It’s not really the card itself that is important, but more about what’s inside the card that truly matters.
While unpacking an old box upstairs, I stumbled upon some cards I had kept, one from my own mother, given to me on my 17th Birthday. She had filled the card with her writings, some recalling her favorite memories with me, along with advice given to her that she was now passing on to me. She told me how proud she was of the woman I was turning into and that no matter what, she would always love me and she would always be there for me. As I reread these words, this card takes me back to a time in my life when I had a relationship with my mom, a time when she was the one I turned to when I was having a bad day, when I needed a good laugh, or maybe just someone to have a cup of coffee with in the morning. It was a time in my life where I hadn’t done anything to upset her or go against her own wishes. It was a simple time in that I felt like I almost had her approval and all I wanted was to make her proud. This card and the words written inside of it are the only reassurance that I hold in my hand..knowing my mother did love me and was proud of me. Even though we haven’t spoken in over four years, I can look at this card and remember the special times we shared.
Just like I’ve held onto the words of my mom, I know there are also parents who keep cards written from their children. It might be a postcard, promising to change their life around, to make things right, to put God first, to come clean once and for all. Or, maybe it’s a card to say “I’m Sorry“… for the ugly teenage years, for the grey hair, for the sleepless nights, for painful life lessons learned. But what about those cards that say “I Love You” and “Thank You”… for loving me anyway, for believing in me when nobody else did, for supporting me, for making my dreams come true, for NEVER giving up on me. Yes, I’m sure these cards are treasured by parents and children alike… because even when times are tough, these are the reminders that stay with us forever.
My husband might be guilty for his lack of card purchases, but he has kept all of the cards and love notes from me. These are the cards exchanged between lovers and best friends. The card that you read back to him 10 years from now, because the words written inside are timeless, that first time you signed it with an “I love you” or an inside joke that was just as good as Morris code between the two of you. It’s the card that puts a smile on his face because he knows you are his one and only..and you know ..as you read the message neatly printed on the embossed Tiffany note card that he is your Happily Ever After. It could be a card filled with all of the reasons why you love him…or it could be a card with just a few words expressing his own reasons for loving you. This year, for my Birthday, I asked Nate to include a card with his gift. The card couldn’t have fit me better, and although I cherished the gift that came with it, his words inside my card meant so much more to me.. they were true, honest and thoughtful.. and a little piece of him and his heart were now inside my card. This is the card I keep on my desk at work. My birthday is over, but the card stays.. to remind me.. that he loves me…and heck, he is never one to settle for “simple” and that in itself makes me smile. For some of us, cards are the last thoughts and memories … the last trace of the person you loved..and will always love. Sometimes, it’s the card that takes you back to the beginning of your love story… and that last “I Love You” written with his hands..he was thinking of you that day …picking out this card with you in mind.. and you can’t help but recall how happy you were that day..the day he gave you this card. It is no longer just “a card” It’s a piece of your past, a lingering memory of the one you love.. something you just can’t put a price on…
By Heather Decker