My birthday is over. It was a wonderful day. I ate cake. I made a wish. I got balloons. I got ridiculously generous and unexpected gifts. I felt loved. My iPhone was buzzing all day with over 40 Facebook birthday messages. My Tweeps showed me love on Twitter. My post I wrote yesterday got the most comments and traffic of any post I’ve written (THANK YOU!!). I was thrown a cyber smile on one of my favorite blogs. I received Happy Birthday text messages. I was IM’d throughout the day.
But when I excitedly skipped to the mailbox yesterday evening and opened the little door, I was disappointed.
I only got one card. One.
There was no doubt in my mind from all of the “communication” that people thought of me on My Day but still, I was a little sad. There is just something about a card. Something about pulling the envelope out of the mailbox and seeing your name handwritten on it. Something about walking in the house, holding the card in anticipation of what is inside. Something about ripping open the envelope, pulling out the card and sitting quietly to read it. And then keeping it. Maybe keeping it for minutes or days or forever. But keeping it for as long as you want and knowing you can go back and look at it, knowing someone thought of you and sent you that card, specifically for you.
There are certain people that send birthday cards. I love those people. I’m not one of them. I give cards with gifts in person but sadly, I don’t mail them like I used to. I’m great at remembering birthdays on the DAY OF the birthday but it would take far too much organization for me to remember the birthday is coming a week ahead of time to buy the card, find a stamp, and mail it.
Hannah loves writing cards for people. She writes them often, puts them in envelopes and asks me to mail them. Some are just pictures with her name at the bottom. Some have a friend’s name scribbled on it with I LUV YOU on it and a smiley face as a signature. She seals them tight with her tongue and hands them to me to mail off. It’s a beautiful sign of affection, sending a card. And I’m sad knowing that it may not last. When she’s old enough to have her life computerized, she too, most likely will digitalize her friendly affections. Unless I teach her otherwise, right?
I recently received a card from a new wonderful Blog Friend. I opened the mailbox after three weeks of being sick and caring for sick kids and there was the envelope with my name on it. And there was her name. In her handwriting. A part of her that I had never seen before in the 3 months I’ve been reading her blog. I’d seen her amazing pictures. Her heart warming words. Her beautiful thoughts. But nothing she’d actually touched. And this (as well as the beautiful note she wrote on the perfect, thoughtful card) touched me. More than an email could. More than an IM or text message. There’s just something about a card.
The world is moving forward and dragging us all along. In some ways the changes being made with technology are Fantastic. Making our lives easier, faster, more efficient. Things don’t take as long. We don’t have to wait in as many lines, talk to as many people, or even walk into a crowded store. But the personal side, leaves me missing something. Missing someONE. I used to LIKE face to face conversations. Even voice to voice conversations. I LIKED getting cards in the mail and knowing people were opening the ones I sent to them.
The last job I had was at a small company where we all sat in one big loft space in the Garment District of Manhattan. There were mere feet separating each of us. We didn’t have walls or cubicles or offices. Yet, rarely would we turn and speak to one another about the business. We emailed. We IM’d. Yes, it’s always good to have a paper trail to have a record of the everyday happenings, but really, it was just easier. There was no emotion involved when simply looking at words flashing on a screen. No difficult conversations in the fast paced, stressful work environment. No eavesdropping on uncomfortable situations. The owner of the company designed the space as he did to keep us close together, open to ideas, working as a true team. But his tendency to run his business through his fingers, made me feel that much more separated.
I seem to have lost the point of this post, sorry. My point really wasn’t to say I wish more people sent me cards. I don’t. People in my life, like me, don’t have time to be planning ahead to send me a birthday card. My point was also not to say I don’t appreciate all the love I got on-line yesterday. I guess my point is that I see things are now different. And although in many ways better, also a little lacking. And I’m sad Hannah and Luke may never know that feeling of “getting mail”. Opening the mailbox to find a loving card.
Who knows if one day the whole mail system will be gone and there won’t even be the option to send a real card. And I can say for sure, I will be very sad on that day. So for now, while I’m still able, you may just open your mailbox and find a little card from me. Or Hannah.