In the Cards

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.



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31 responses to “In the Cards

  1. Nicki

    I’m a card sender. I may not get them out for big reasons like Christmas but the little encouragement to a friend, the congratulations on a new job. Those cards I send as I did yesterday to a dear friend who just got a new job, even though I will see him tonight.

  2. I aspire to be you! I used to be so great at sending cards… now I definitely pick up the phone and send emails but the cards… not so much. You’re a great friend obviously!

  3. Sending cards is like writing in cursive. It served a purpose once, it’s not used much anymore, it makes us nostalgic for everything it stood for. Maybe one day we’ll be saying that about Twitter??

    • I don’t know Stacia… I still think cards can serve a purpose. Even if it’s just putting a smile on someone’s face. Or putting a little more of your SELF into a note. But you’re right, the sending of cards is slowing down… it’s just not EASY anymore.

  4. I’m not a card sender, either. I should be, because I like getting them.

    I hope that you enjoyed your day!

  5. Rebecca I know exactly what you mean. I just love getting real mail (well not the bills), but a magazine, a card, a note, something real and tangible. It rocks. I actually make my own cards and send them to people for as many occasions as I can because it’s just fun!

  6. Obviously, I like cards 🙂 Ones that you can hold, and like you said, see a persons handwriting.
    I felt the same on my birthday last year. Yes, I was overwhelmed with messages online, but it’s just not the same. All these new ways to connect leave something out. Big time.

  7. I love getting cards, too. It’s funny–I am so bad at sending them in the mail. (And I get a little annoyed at friends who remember and make me feel guilty.) I even neglect the card when I’m giving a present. I figure, why waste the paper? But the birthday card in the mail is an old tradition, something to be displayed in the house, right atop my armoire or piano. So I know your pain. I usually get one from my mom and my grandmom. My poor husband gets none, because his parents give it to him in person.

    We need to start a movement to make the snail mail cards come back.

    Happy Birthday!

    • Yes Yes! Let’s start that movement! I just got back from Target actually and bought a bunch of cards so I have them in the house when the appropriate time arrives!

  8. Me

    Well, you know that I love to send cards: Birthday, Halloween, Valentines, etc.. Whenever I see a card I like, I buy it and keep it on file for that special occasion. And when I know that we won’t be spending a holiday with loved ones, I send a card so they know that we are thinking of them. I also try to get everyone in the family to sign it in their own handwriting. So much more personal in my opinion (though a lot less legible)

    So be on the go skipping to your mailbox in a few weeks, there just might be a Passover card waiting for you….

    PS: did you like the nail stickers? I hope you shared them with Hannah.

    • You are the best card sender I know. I actually commented to my mom about that the other day. I love that you do that. It means so much to all of us. So, just you wait! You may be receiving some cards from us too! And no, I used all of the nail stickers on my fingers and toes. None for Hannah. 🙂 xx

  9. I used to be a systematic card sender, not so much anymore. But I know what you mean about opening them, reading them. It is what getting a letter meant so long ago, before the electronic revolution.

    Hope your day was fantastic! Wishing you many more!

  10. Being a Catholic girl with a birthday on Christmas Eve, I got pretty used to not receiving cards – or even presents (boohoo, woe is me) – as a kid. But I’m with you, there is something so lovely about seeing a handwritten envelope poking out from among the stack of bills and advertisements, on your birthday or any day.

    (By the way, have you heard that the USPS is considering dropping mail delivery on Saturday because their traffic and revenue has fallen so sharply?)

    • No, Kristen, I didn’t hear about USPS but it doesn’t surprise me. How sad. I’m definitely going to make an effort to send out more cards, before it’s not an option anymore!

  11. My grandmother was not only amazing at remembering birthdays but she always sent a card and magically, it always arrived on the exact day of your birthday (unless, of course, it fell on Sunday). You’d think I’d learn from her example. But, alas, like you, I’m best at remembering on the day of the birthday. So thank goodness for email and text and Facebook. Every so often I go on a kick where I try every Sunday night to write a snail mail card of letter to someone I care about and put it in the mail. You have inspired me to try to get into that habit again. Thank you!

    And happy belated birthday! Hope you’re still glowing from all of the birthday love!

  12. I’m a card sender too, a pretty obsessive one – I’m sorry I didn’t realize in advance it was your birthday!

  13. I never send cards and don’t really like to receive them because I can’t stop thinking it’s a waste of paper when someone could call me.

    But I love getting a letter. It totally makes me feel loved — like I really do exist.

    • True True… I guess it isn’t tree friendly to send cards but I still can’t help but think they are worth it for the right occasions. And you’re right – there’s nothing better than a letter!

  14. Great post and Happy Birthday! I do send cards, although I have never to my blog friends. What a fabulous idea! Now to get their addresses! Will it make me look like a crazy?

    Anyway, I loved the post and yes, I like to browse around hallmark and waste paper on knowing someone else will smile.

    Glad I found your blog!

    • I’m glad you found me too Brittany!
      No, I don’t think it would make you look crazy to gather addresses! I just loved getting the card from my blog friend. It was so special. I’m going to make an effort to get some blog friend addresses too. If they don’t want to give them to me, that’s fine!

  15. Snail mail is going the way of the dodo when it comes to personal greetings, no? My husband and I still send cards (birthday, Christmas, thank you) even though (or perhaps because) it’s a quickly disappearing practice. Don’t know — we both came from families that sort of trained that into us. I guess I’m glad to have that — the real question is, will our (hoped for) kids carry on the tradition?

    • It’s up to us to get our kids to be card senders. I’m going to make the effort to get them in the habit. I guess they have to model my behavior first though!

  16. I love getting cards in the mail, too. There’s just something special about it! Glad you had a good birthday!

  17. I love sending cards, although I haven’t as much since I had the kids. However, I am faithful about sending cards after job interviews, and to my older relatives when they send gifts for the kids.

    I used to have more time to write cards, and I still have a stack of lovely cards right here next to my desk. But they are untouched lately. Maybe when the kids get into elementary school?

    I am very happy you were born! Happy Birthday.

    • Yes, the time issue. Everything comes back to that doesn’t it? I just think it would make me feel so good to send out more cards so, I’ll find the time! I just bought a bunch of cards today… I hope they don’t just get lost in my ridiculous clutter!
      Thank you so much for the birthday wishes!

  18. Happy belated birthday, its my 35th birthday birthday today!!! I love getting cards so I always try & make an effort & send them, my friend always does beautiful handmade cards which mean the world to me when I recieve them, there is something special about cards x

  19. It takes just a little more effort to send a card and there is something nice about knowing someone cares enough to make that effort.

    It sounds like you had a lovely day and your friends and family showered you in love.

    Let us know if you gets of cards in the mail after this post.

  20. I spent two years ONLY sending Ben letters. He was on a mission and was disconnected from the net and the phone. I guess I feel as if I put my time in for letters. My brother, though, will soon be serving a mission. Yikes! That means 2 more years of sending letters. Oy.

    Anyway, I do like cards. But, like Kelly, I feel so dang bad because I will inevitably throw it away, killing a tree. Yuck. Do E-cards count? : )

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