I stood in Hallmark for over an hour looking for a Happy Birthday card to send my mother. So many to choose from—even ones that play music or allow you to record your own voice message. I usually pick the funniest one I can find about getting older and hurry out of the store. But this time, they didn’t seem so funny. My mother, even though celebrating her 13th 49th birthday, is young at heart, full of enthusiasm (annoyingly, so), and always there for me no matter how many times I try to blame her for everything that goes wrong in my life.
I wanted to get her something to show her how much I love and respect her, but truth be told, my birthday present-buying budget is virtually nonexistent; 42 cents to be exact. And so I wrote her a letter, the old-fashioned way, addressing not only how she has shaped my life, but how she has affected the lives of so many around her and beyond. Through her career, she has empowered hundreds of women; through her mothering, she has raised two almost normal children; through her marriage, she has loved and taken care of my father for over three decades. She deserves to know how much I admire her.
I admit, I started to think to myself, I could save myself the postage and just send her an e-mail, but I remembered the best part about receiving a handwritten letter is that spark of joy and curiosity when you find the envelope in-between the electric bill and coupon junk book, and the thrill of rediscovering it years later, tucked away in that special drawer. I love to get letters, real letters, from friends and family, and so I’ve made a resolution to myself to continue this seemingly antiquated practice.
How about you? Have you ever received an unexpected letter that brightened your day?
How is receiving a personal e-mail different than a handwritten letter?