Before I married, I walked to the Mother’s Day card section of a store, searched for “From Daughter,” and found a card. A couple steps to the right or left, I found a card “For Grandmother” and I was done. Then marriage happened and my female relatives grew exponentially. I added two cards for my two mothers-in-law, two sister/sister-in-law cards, a card for a cousin-in-law who lost her only child in 1983, and some years, a card for a woman who my husband was close to while growing up and/or one of my aunts.
And then I had children, so the three mothers who became grandmothers to my children also got a grandmother card with handprints or scribbled signatures of the children. The sister/sister-in-law cards got swapped out for “Aunt” cards.
Once I told a neighbor that I was on my way to get my Mother’s Day cards.
“CardS?” (As in more than one) she asked.
“Yes,” I responded, as I rattled off a few of the recipients.
“Oh no!” she said with an assertive voice. “I only have one mother and she gets a card; my grandmother gets a card from her, not me. And my husband gets his own card for his mother.”
I thought about it and couldn’t argue with that rationale, yet I couldn’t discontinue the new family tradition. After all, I didn’t see all of the mothers frequently and I thought, “Why not send a card as a way of letting them know that I’m thinking of them. Sure I’ve spent over $35, but aren’t they worth it? And some of them send cards to me.”
My husband loves receiving cards. I wonder if I was influenced by him. Hmmm…
This year, Darling Husband and I have received more than our usual amount of graduation announcements. As the month of May sends me into a tailspin, I found myself behind in responding with a Congratulations card (that is still at the store). On my way to a grad party, it occurred to me to just write a note to the young one and I realized that it was much more satisfying to say what I wanted to say than to let Hallmark say it for me.
I think I’m onto something!
Actually, I’ve been gravitating this way for a few years. This past Mother’s Day, I asked my children to make cards for me instead of buying them. I didn’t get three (one from each of them), but the one I got with everyone’s signature on it was very special. My husband still bought one for me and I received one from my parents and another relative—and that’s okay. Not everyone is going to write a note. I’ve learned that many people are not comfortable writing, and also, most find it easier to go to the store for a card. And, there ARE some pretty good writers at Hallmark, American Greetings, and whoever writes for the Dollar Store cards, so it’s good that they’re available.
I have to go there though. A friend and I were talking about the expense of graduation pictures by theme photographers that is a popular thing to do nowadays, which led to her saying that she gets an invitation with a great picture of a kid on it and ultimately, it gets tossed into the garbage. But, it’s reciprocal—the kid gets a greeting card from an adult, shakes it for possible dollars to fall out, and then tosses the card…eventually.
I’m proud to say that I keep the pictures; I have a photo album where they all go, along with the Christmas photos… not that you have to do the same. And I do enjoy getting them.
The 10 or 11 Mother’s Day cards are now down to 5. My granny and two mothers-in-law have passed on. I think they appreciated the cards. It was what their generation did. With e-cards and all the social media, I wonder about the future of greeting cards… and even a handwritten note.
What’s your greeting card modus operandi?
image from common wikimedia