My mom will be celebrating her 85th birthday next week. Happy birthday Mom! This article is your present.
Ha ha, just kidding.
You know, birthdays come and go for all of us. What is it though that keeps the memory of a birthday so special? It might be that special surprise party that was planned without your knowledge. Maybe it was a special gift you received that beat all other birthday gifts ever. Or could it be that birthday trip to a far off place for fun and adventure. All of these things would make a birthday memorable. But for Mom it is all about the card.
For Mom, a birthday card, Christmas card, a card for any day for that matter, has always been a favorite way of remembering special moments. I think Valentine’s Day cards are her favorite. I’m sure that goes back to her childhood schooldays when classmates would exchange cards. I miss those days.
Every once in a while Mom will bring out her cards and reminisce. Some cards date back 60 years or more. And it’s not as much the card, as what is written inside. Those messages and letters are priceless — and they come wrapped up in a beautiful, humorous or sometimes very sentimental card.
Many of the cards Mom has received over the years still have the pictures that were sent along with the card. Some cards resemble a memory book of family, friends and loved ones. If you are one that likes receiving cards with pictures inside then you know what I mean.
Mom not only likes receiving cards but sending them, too. I can remember receiving a card from her not long ago that had pictures in it that I never knew existed. There were pictures of when I was in college and clippings from the newspaper of family and friends. Then there are those special times when Mom would send a card with another card that was sent to her — inside the card. Now that’s a real Hallmark moment.
Mom never just signs a card she is sending, there is always a message to go along with the card. Sometimes there is even money — but it is always more about the message or the pictures than the cash, right? I get a birthday card every year from my financial planner and inside the card is his signature, “Robert,” and that is it. Just once I would like to get a card from him that said, “Thanks for helping me make a good living. Here’s a couple hundred bucks — go have fun!” Guess I won’t hold my breath for that card.
I will say our mailbox receives fewer cards than ever before. Hallmark Cards Inc., the nation’s top card maker, estimates the number of greeting cards sold in the U.S. has dropped from 6 billion to 5 billion annually. That’s still a bunch of cards. I think my mom accounts for at least half of that number.
It should be no surprise with so many other ways to connect digitally, online and through social media that sending a greeting card today is like using a rotary telephone. Don’t tell my mom that, however. She still loves going to her mailbox and seeing that envelope inside marked, “Do not bend, photos inside.”
DeLong is the executive director of The Suites at Station Exchange. Email him at Suites.StationExchange@gmail.com.