I took the boys to the drugstore last week to get birthday cards for Sarah. Their card criteria boils down to cute pictures of animals, so they were quickly done. I had a much harder time. Sentimental cards make me queasy, and joke cards are generally not funny and/or mean. I prefer a blank card in which I can write a simple message, but I couldn't find any. Everything was filled with bad haiku:
My dearest daughter
This is a glorious day
Be happy always
Of course I want these things for my children, but it’s not always going to be the case. I don’t want to lie; sometimes your birthday sucks, and there will be periods in your in your life when happiness will elude you. I don’t want to be a downer, but I do want to manage expectations. No one has yet found a way to put that sentiment in a card.
I feel similarly about anniversary cards; I can’t stand the maudlin poetry and false sentimentality. I’d feel squeamish if I found a card for David that encapsulates exactly how I feel about him, because how deep would it be if Hallmark nailed it for you, and a million other people? We like to think our love is one of a kind, but in fact, it is just like everyone else’s.
Then there is the reality that the ones you love also annoy the shit out of you. If you have found someone to happily share your life with, you are lucky indeed, but coupledom is no walk in the park.
If I were to write a generic greeting card celebrating married life, I think this would be appropriate:
There was a time when I thought your shit didn’t stink
Now I know better
Happy anniversary my love
This is what I would say to David:
I will love you always
And though I appreciate it that you clean the kitchen every night after dinner
It really bothers me that you do it in ten minute stretches, with frequent breaks
His card to me might read:
You are my soulmate, and I am so grateful to have you in my life
That said, I wish you would work on your inability to accept criticism, and admit that my way of loading the dishwasher is the correct one
Here’s to many more wonderful years
Perhaps I have a future in the greeting card industry.