Friday, May 9, 2008

American Greetings

Well, I ain't never been the Hallmark type. When I actually sent Christmas cards a couple of years ago, my family knew I must be ill. For someone who writes, you'd think I could get Happy Birthday wishes in the mail without Xanax. But somehow I always fall victim to greetingis carditis - I can't even walk down the stationery aisle without being overwhelmed by the pressure of it all. That anxiety immediately preceeds a huge dose of guilt that would make Lady MacBeth seem just smug..."well, yes dear, we did have Banquo killed, but at least we sent that lovely engraved invitation to dinner." Among my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving and Easter. Lots of food, no cards required. Valentine's Day, Birthdays, and Mother's/Father's Day require long sleeves to hide the outbreak of hives.

Naturally, since I'm card-challenged, I am blessed with a sister-in-law who probably manages to send a get-well note for every stubbed toe, and well-wishes on half-birthdays. On time. I envy her the organization, motivation and general good manners she possesses to carry off this miracle, while raising my brother, two young boyz and presiding over their PTA. I'm truly sincere in my admiration - I walk past no less than two card shops a day, and the cash machine in the building lobby vends stamps. Clearly Pam isn't allergic to Shoebox.

My real objection has to do with the general inadequacy of cards themselves. A pre-fab greeting card offends my creative side. What did you do for Mother's Day? Oh, I sent a card. Grreeaattt. I suppose "it's the thought that counts" does come into play here, but I always want to be more original. Usually my family gets a phone call to celebrate "card" occasions. Woohhooo! The imagination police have a warrant for me.

Maybe I'm just plain lazy.

It's not that I don't have good intentions. Almost every year I make the effort to calendar all the important birthdays, anniversaries and occasions of my family and friends. Those calendars presently have a gig with Oprah's past diets and Liz Taylor's ex-husbands. We try.

So, that's my excuse. I don't have one. Out, damn spot!

(And yes, I have a Mother's Day card for my mother, and we're going to lunch tomorrow.)


"Stardusted" said...

I couldn't help but visit your blog from Patience's when you mentioned "Whippet" and "Seattle" in the same entry. I am a Seattle person who moved to Eastern Washington quite a few years ago when we simplified life long before it became fashionable.

Did you come to Seattle from another part of WA? One of my whippet's brothers was "Nike" from Wildaspen. My whippet's name is Star.... therefore you understand who I am listed as "Stardusted".

Enjoyed your take on the National. I had business that would not allow the trip but was pleased to see the art show as a part of the displays. Perhaps another year.

Enjoy your sunny weather this weekend. Our son lives in Seattle and prefers these days to walk his greyhound rather than the rainy ones.

Kathy and Star the Wonder Dog

Deb La Monica said...

I have to admit that I am somewhat like you, Jenn. I resent having a holiday built by greeting card companies. I buy gifts and cards on these holidays with occasional fleeting resentment that it is something that is just plain EXPECTED. If I could do everything via email it would be so much easier.. but the trek to the greeting card aisle (where, I will have you know, people were pushing and shoving the other night to get to the cards that they wanted. Isn't that a bit of a dichotomy.?
"I got you this card mom, but I gave the guy in the blue shirt a black eye first").

This year, however, amidst the pushing and shoving heaped upon me, and subsequent eye poking , gut elbowing, hair pulling, and mud wrestling with which I responded, I found the absolutely perfect card for my mom. Thankfully, we have the same sick sense of humor... I hope.

On the front of the card there is a picture of a 1950's perfect, traditional family. Everyone is "dressed" for dinner. The little boy and the little girl are smiling. There is not a TV, video game, or microwave in the scene. Dad is grinning ear to ear and looking at his children lovingly. Mom, hair in bun, is leaning over the table and serving a wonderful looking plate of something meaty and yummy. There is a speech bubble over her head, and in it is written, "Tippy wasn't much of a pet, but as a main dish he should be super!"

Inside of the card says, "Moms know how to make the best of everything"

I don't know how Tippy died. Perhaps the pretty children killed him. Perhaps the father ran over him with the car in the driveway in his rush to get home to his loving family. Maybe he died being smothered with love on the new holiday, "Pets Day", and perhaps that is why we do not hear more about that holiday... too many lawsuits for the greeting card companies.

Whatever happened, I am just glad that this family can make the best of the holiday.. and that they were willing to let me into their darkened hearts and dining room in order to share this greeting card holiday with my mom in a way that makes up both feel good.

By the way.. It's a Hallmark.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the compliment....can't imagine I seem organized to anybody.

Those of us who can't write need Hallmark/American Greetings. Those of you with the gift of writing ability have every right be afraid of the greeting card isle. You could do it better in your own words.

I received the best mother's day card this morning. My boys got up and scurried around without coming to talk to me for about an hour. Then Hayden called me, from my cell phone to the house phone, and asked, "Mom will you please come to my room?" (this is truly funny if you know how small our house is.) Covering my eyes and tripping over blocks and Lego pieces, I saw an adorable arrangement of every stuffed animal they own with a sign in the middle of it all..."Happy Mother's Day! From, Everyone" Take that Hallmark!


Vanessa said...

I thought I was the only one who started to itch and twitch in the card aisle! The only thing worse is the fear of going to the post office. If I buy a card, it gets filled in and addressed but somehow 3 holidays later I am looking at evergreen trees when I should be looking at colored eggs. Do I get partical credit for effort?

Jenn and the City

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An Award
Thanks Patience!

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