Since the passing of my mother, one of my newfound sources of happiness comes from checking my mail. The tiny metal door with my apartment number on it has become a portal for words of comfort, support and love. I was not raised in a family that believed much in sending cards; we weren't against them, it just wasn't a habit that was instilled in me. As a result, in more recent years, I had lost sight of how important they are. I'm not sure how I missed the connection between receiving a card in the mail and feeling good; but I surely couldn't miss it once I was gifted dozens of them at a rough time.
I mentioned it in a previous post, but the card the hit me the most was one from my friend Caroline. The card was a picture of a Chihuahua and a piece of half eaten corn. There was corn bits smeared all over the dogs mouth and the front simply said "corn dog". This card lingers in my memory because it was the only one without Hallmark saying something pre-written about loss and sympathy.
I actually find it impressive that the card companies have gotten so specific in their message options. I got several different cards that were specifically about the loss of a mother so young… not even a parent or a loved one or just a mother; they aren't slacking over in those headquarters. "Today we need you to crank out a few new cards, specifically try to hit upon someone who is celebrating their Golden Retriever's fourth birthday and 'sorry you got food poisoning at a sushi restaurant'".
This got me thinking a lot about cards though because as more and more arrived at my apartment I started to get excited to see what it would say. The "corn dog" was in the first batch and it has yet to be topped, mostly because the inside was filled with a long, wonderful note from Caroline saying it had made her laugh, she wanted to share that and it would be the first of a series to make sure I kept smiling.
This act of kindness inspired me to design my own line of cards that are about nothing. They can be sent at any time and for any reason, including no reason at all. Their singular purpose is to make people smile; because it is not about forgetting what happened or denying the feelings that Hallmark so eloquently nails. It is about remembering that in addition to all of that, smiling is the best tool to move forward and nonsense is amazing when you stop to recognize it.
So here are my first three greeting cards. I have made them entirely out of materials from my recycling bin, junk mail and things laying around my apartment. In honor of my mother they will not waste and they will repurpose things to bring joy. I don't know what I'll do with them yet, right now I'm just having a blast with my new scrapbooking cutter and feeling like the possibilities are endless.
I do know that very soon, one of them will get sent to Caroline.