Cards, Shoes, Superheroes, and Love
June 18, 2014
Jennifer Hagler Photography
By Buffy York
Written by Laura DiFatta
I have been known to almost throw greeting cards back into their little shelf pockets while muttering audibly. I’m probably too tough a critic of greeting card writers, but I gotta say, a large percentage of the cards they write are crass and insulting to one’s intelligence (a lot like reality TV) or just downright cheesy (gagging sounds have been made/heard on greeting card aisles in various stores ‘round town). And don’t even get me started on the ones that say something along the lines of “Dear Wife, I know I never tell you I love you…” That just makes me mad at whoever doesn’t tell his wife he loves her enough and then I’m ranting in my head and I’m off-task. Pair the poor-message-choice frustration with the fact that I usually have at least one active boy with me while card shopping and you’re looking at a combustible combo.
Last week, during my Father’s Day, multiple birthday, and anniversary card shopping trip, Trent pulled every single superhero card his little hands could reach with blazing superhero speed and announced “these are perfect!” with such self-satisfaction and enthusiasm that it almost hurt to put them back. Almost. He even managed to pull out and fall for a $10.00 card!! I don’t think I’ve even seen a $10.00 card before (there were pop-out features and I think music) but he found it and fell in love with it for his dad for Father’s Day. Although it made it to the point of check-out, it did not make it into the bag. The sweet clerk was understanding and in cahoots with me. I’m sure Ken loved his homemade card much better.
But good greeting cards can encapsulate a moment in time, can they not? I save cards. I know that I am a pack rat, but I can’t part with some of the sweet and sentimental cards I’ve received. I’ve even managed to save some I’ve given to Ken in the past. My guys are going to get to enjoy some kind of incredible bonfire one day when they go through all my stuff…. I recently found a card from the last century. Yes, the 1900’s. Reading it made for one of the biggest belly-laughs Ken and I have shared lately. We married in June of 1995 and well, this card was dated 1996, so it was given somewhere about one year into wedded bliss. The card I had chosen referenced all the “hard, challenging and crazy times we’ve been through together…” etc. etc. Not even kidding, we laughed ‘til we cried at our naive young selves. With 19 years of marriage now under the bridge (as of today) and three boys in the mix, we looked back at Year One and thought, “What in the world was the crazy?” Was the difficulty for me the fact the I had to choose which pairs of my shoes I had to leave behind in Mississippi when we married and was the difficulty for him how he had to drive a complete MS to AL trip with his car filled with just my shoes?! I’m embarrassed by that and to my credit, he drove a small car and if you’re my age, you’ll recall that in those days we were matchy-matchy. I do know that we had all the “leave and cleave” to get used to and the living in the same state for the first time in three years and my first real job and… and… and… And I also know that perception of busy is relative to one’s own experience. So to us, we had had a crazy year by the time that card was given. But in light of all that we’ve been through in these nearly 2 decades of marriage, well, the comparison really was worthy of a good belly-laugh.
I have no idea what tomorrow, much less next year holds, but I do know that it is a tremendous gift to be able to look back over 19 years and to be deeply grateful. There has been abundant love and forgiveness and no-matter-what commitment and grace and comfort and patience and strength and tenderness and leadership and good-natured humor and generosity of spirit and faithfulness given to me over the past 19 years. It would be hard not to follow a man like that, a man who looks more like the Savior he loves with every passing year. I pray our sons turn out like their daddy. And so, with all this in mind, you’ll understand that I found gold when I found this anniversary card for Ken that said:
“If I could do it over again, there’s only one thing I’d change… I’d have found you sooner so I could love you longer.” Hallmark never had it so right.
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:14