Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When You Care Enough

Today was one of my errand days. One of the errands was buying birthday cards. I always like to go into the card shop when I have plenty of time and not buy a card until it speaks to me. I hate ho-hum cards, those generic ones: To a very special son. To one who means a lot to me. Our family doesn't talk that way, and it feels all fake to buy a card like that.

We have 3 family members with birthdays in January and February, and for some reason, those February ones are hard to remember, so I was glad to have some time today to concentrate and be prepared this year. The January birthday is Emily, the baby daughter. If you read this, Em, you're not getting the one with the photograph of the mother gazing into her baby's eyes, saying, "The first time I held you in my arms..." You almost did. My criteria for a daughter card is whether or not it makes me misty-eyed or gives me a lump in my throat. We've done the pastel rectangular ones that go on and on and won't stop until you cry. When I read one now, my first thought is, "This sounds familiar. Did I give that one last year?" Or maybe they all kind of sound alike. I did put the baby one back and get a more grown-up one for her to open in front of her friends and keep her dignity. Although the little pink real bow on the front made me give it a second glance.

The next one is my brother-in-law who is the one to get forgotten so many times. No one should have a birthday the first week in February, so he's gotten his share of cards with turtles on them apologizing for being late. I'm already ahead of the game. I found not 1 but 3 cards that made me laugh. In-laws are hard. I didn't grow up with him, so the "when we were kids together" comments or jokes about the dad don't work. Therefore, I go for what amuses me. This particular brother-in-law (actually my only one) is very smug about being several years younger than I, so it's always nice to find something focusing on aging. Or mentally or physically falling apart. I'll have to decide among them. He'll just be thrilled that I remembered.

At the end of February is my daughter-in-law Stephanie's birthday. She doesn't get forgotten usually, but her best friend has a birthday either the day before her or the day after her, and once I heard that, it sent my brain into a permanent freeze. I have never been entirely sure which one is her birthday and which one is her friend's. Even if it written in my address book, I still doubt myself, so I send her card to get there on the earlier of the 2 days. Although after her catty comment about my dead and dying plants at Christmas, she'll be lucky to even get a card. I'm kidding, of course; that gave everyone a very big laugh, and I'm not the least bit miffed it was at my expense. At all.

I may be pleased with myself with getting these cards bought, but let's see if I still know where the last 2 are when it comes time to mail them. Maybe I should just mail them all tomorrow.

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