Because It Isn’t All About Me/You

A few years ago I began receiving cards from my mom. For every little thing…Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and more. You name a holiday and it seemed that I was getting a card.

I didn’t get it.

She hadn’t done it before and I was confused as to why she had suddenly changed course in mid-stream.

I didn’t take into account the loss of her younger brother a few months before. I couldn’t relate to this deeply depressed woman or miss the uncle I had barely known.

I was lost in trouble of my own – worries over money, my hands full of a small toddler – so I never responded or mentioned the cards. And eventually, they stopped coming.

Then, a little over a year ago I lost a friend. We weren’t as close as we should have been. We ran in different circles, had different sets of friends, but we shared our daughters, who had been close friends since childhood. We shared an experience that two mothers should never have to experience, but it had brought us together in friendship, not apart, and defined us in ways I cannot properly express. When she died, just days after I had been thinking of her and considered calling her up and asking her over for dinner (and then got busy and forgot to do it), I was absolutely beside myself.

I knew there was nothing I could do – no words that I could say, no card that I could send, no moments that I could ever have with her, ever again. I had lost my chance and there would be no more.

At the end of last year, as the one year anniversary of her death approached and then passed, I made a resolution. “I’m going to start sending cards to everyone,” I told my husband. And I have slowly gotten into the swing of things – we sent out some Valentine’s cards to some family, and I’m looking at a stack of Easter cards that still need addressing and sending.

Perhaps those people who get them will think as I did not so long ago, “Really? A dopey Hallmark card? Gee, how special!” And maybe, just maybe, they will instead think, “Huh, well this is kind of sweet.” I hope it is the latter.

So with every holiday or birthday – I’m hoping I can involve Emily in this as well. That she might learn a few things from the act of sending a card.

  • Reminding someone they are loved and that we are thinking of them
  • Brighten someone’s day
  • Remind ourselves that it isn’t all about us and our lives and schedules and hectic existence

I want Emily to realize that she is part of something bigger – a community, a family, and that friends and connections matter. I want her to learn the habit of reaching out to those she loves and cares about and who care for her.

Even if it doesn’t do something as drastic as save a life, it might make the daily living of life more bearable, or bring a smile to someone’s lips.

So I’ve got a stack of Easter cards to address and send today. I imagine that some of them will be late in arriving. But I hope that those who receive them will still appreciate the thought behind them, and that they are loved and cared for by our little family. And for those who don’t receive one, forgive me, I’m still new at this!

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