I have only moved twice in my life (and no I am not counting the dorm room in college)…once when I was 30 and again last summer. It is definitely something that I NEVER want to do again…especially the last crazed few weeks before the move. At one point during those last weeks, I just started throwing things in boxes, mostly without looking at them. But the one thing that I did start to look at was many years worth of personalized birthday cards.
I suppose birthday cards are something people tend to hold onto. Apparently, in my family we do anyway. There were so many birthday cards to look through. There were ones that had been personalized by friends who picked out cards with dogs on them or cartoon characters I had especially liked. Some of the birthday cards had been personalized with stickers or drawings by the children I used to teach. There were birthday cards that had been personalized with notes written for me. And then there was the birthday card that was probably the most special birthday card of all. It had been sent to me by my aunts, and they had helped the dog “sign” it with an ink paw print. Despite the craziness of the moment and knowing that I should be packing, I kept looking at all my old personalized birthday cards and smiling.
Then I went into another drawer and found birthday cards that I had personalized for my aunts…cards that went back years, with drawings I had made and notes I had written (many of them with misspellings). I knew that these cards had meant to them what the cards I had saved meant to me. Deeper into that drawer though, I found even more. I found cards that had been written to them by their parents when they were young. These cards were not personalized by drawings, or stickers, or ink paw prints. But I think that these birthday cards, which had really just been personalized by the signature “Mother and Daddy” meant as much to them as if they had been personalized with all the other things. After all they had been kept for over 50 years.
Finally, I stopped looking at all these personalized birthday cards. I found a plastic envelope and carefully packed them away. These birthday cards didn’t go into a box though. I took them right over to the new apartment so that they would be safe, and nothing would happen to them during the move.