Monday, February 28, 2011


Of all the gifts I received on my birthday, the one that I treasured the most did not come wrapped in festive paper and bows, but instead it arrived inside of an envelope; it was a letter!  Catching sight of it, folded carefully inside of a lovely birthday card, immediately transported me back to a time when life was simpler, and the things that I was most grateful for in life more often involved the expenditure of time, rather than the expenditure of the dollar. A letter was, and is, the confirmation that someone thinks highly enough of you to put pen to paper, and write down those thoughts that they might otherwise hold only within their hearts.  It is the validation that you matter to someone; that you are important.  In fact, on that day, at that moment, NOTHING  was more important than sharing those thoughts with you, and all else in their lives was put on hold,  just so that they could take the time to tell you so. What other gift could be as fine?
I would like to say that at the age of 52 I reacted in a manner befitting my years, and made myself a nice cup of tea and sat down in my most comfortable chair, so that I could savor the moment when I read my letter. As usual, I did not act my age. Instead, I yelled to my husband.
"Dave, guess what??  I got a letter inside of  my birthday card, and it's two pages long; FRONT AND BACK!!"  I shouted joyfully. "And the card is REALLY fancy; not a joke card...AND not only that, some of the passages on the card are underlined!!!  Plus, it has X's and O's on it, too!"  I didn't even bother to sit down on a chair to read it.  I stood at my kitchen counter and reveled in the moment.
The letter surpassed all my expectations. Its kind words conveyed the writer's thoughts about our shared experiences and her happiness at the bond that we have as both family and maybe, more importantly, as friends.  It was a verbal hug from a loved one too far away to give me one in person.  It made my day.
In recent years, I have become remiss in my efforts to let those I hold dear know how much that they mean to me on their birthdays or anniversaries.  When buying a card I often choose the most humorous ones, and dash off a quick signature, along with my good wishes. In the future I will try and do better.  Facebook and e-cards, too, are certainly a wonderful reminder  to those we love that they are in our thoughts, but they lack that effort that truly allows us to express the depth of our feelings for those who make our lives so special. They mean more to me than that, and I want them to know it...I want them to enjoy opening the mail as much as I did this year.
Thank you, Aunt Sandy...please consider this post my verbal hug back.

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