Birthday Cards

Brandon took the boys to buy birthday cards for me yesterday. Lydia made me a card with a picture and quote of Dwight Schrute on it. Elvis’ card made me laugh, and Henry’s card was all warm and fuzzy about how special moms are (Henry said “I picked it because it has so many nice words in it”). They picked them out by themselves.

I often struggle to find cards that say exactly what I mean to say, and I should probably just take Lydia’s lead and make them myself. But this receiving of cards from each of my kids so perfectly captured their personalities and our relationship that I’ll gladly take Hallmark any birthday.

As much as I struggle to find the best card, I still love the habit of card-giving and receiving when it’s done with intention. So much of what we do and say and write, even, is virtual. But to pick out or make a tangible love note for a loved one, write in it, and mail or hand that note to someone has an added weight to it that leaves an impression above and beyond the everyday exchanges.

I wish I could have been another set of eyes in the room when the kids gave me their cards. In my peripheral vision there was hope and anticipation, waiting to see my reaction, a silent plea for Mom to “get it,” receive that unique gift of love they each had to offer, and return it with the same cup overflowing.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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