It was my birthday yesterday. Not a ‘special’ one with a zero on the end (one of those comes next year!), it was just an ordinary birthday. And as on most birthdays I recieved presents and cards.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love gifts, but there’s something quite special about a card that’s well thought out. Some cards scream ‘blast it, I must pick up a card at the supermarket and drop it into the letterbox or else it’ll never get there on time’. Others, however, are plainly and obviously picked with love after many hours of searching.
Compare the descriptions below;
Plain, geometric shapes, 79p sticker from a supermarket still left on the back, the words ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’ printed inside with a brief scribbled message.
Pictures of something related to a favourite hobby of mine, a verse full of meaning inside and a message carefully written with love.
I’m not going to either insult or embarass the people responsible for the two cards described above by naming them, suffice to say the senders of the first card should, given their link to me, probably have sent a card that met the description of the second. If they had, I certainly wouldn’t be writing this blog today.
Cards are, for me, about far more than a folded message to mark the day. They show care and attention, they show forethought, they show either by the pictures or the words or the title on the front, what you mean to the sender. They show how well the sender knows you, they show how much they care and how much the kind words of love and hope they write inside are sent with genuine feeling rather than a simple response to societal expectation.
Gifts, whilst nice, aren’t important. They are something to grin and laugh over, something to get excited about as you figure out how to use it/who wrote it/what it sounds like/etc. The important thing on a birthday is knowing that you are thought about with love and affection by those people who you think highly of.
The many facebook messages I received, the biro-drawn card from a workmate who didn’t know it was my birthday until I was almost out of the door from my voluntary job and the promotional card from my gym feel more genuine and more appreciated to me. Facebook friends often don’t have my postal address and we converse far more online than we ever do in real life. The friend from my voluntary job showed genuine indignation that she didn’t know it was my birthday. The gym sees me as a customer and their card made this clear – I know exactly how each of those people think and feel about me and there is not a single shred of malice or of doing-it-because-they-have-to about their messages.
What am I trying to say? I’m not really sure, except that I don’t really like people who say one thing and seem to believe another. I don’t like people who try and have their cake and eat it. Please, if you want to celebrate my birthday with me, do it in an honest way that accurately reflects our relationship. And I will promise to do the same in return.