Some people appreciate cards. I’m one of them. I have a love for words, so I enjoy both giving and receiving cards for special occasions…or even for no occasion at all. I keep almost every card I receive.
My parents have always been faithful to give my brother and I thoughtful birthday cards each year. My mom would pen each one, but it was always evident that she spoke not only from her heart, but also from my dad’s. For the longest time, I assumed this tradition started once we were old enough to appreciate the sentiment or at the very least, were able to read it ourselves. This year, on my 29th birthday, I discovered that this assumption was wrong.
Along with my birthday card, my parents gave me my baby book which was dug out of some storage bin in the basement. It hadn’t seen the light of day for years, I’m certain. (Turns out no one thinks about your baby book for decades until you have a baby of your own.)
I read my card from them with a healthy measure of gratitude, and I began combing through my baby book. Tucked away in the back was an envelope that read, To Our Dear Sweet Vanessa Rose. Inside was a card with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the cover. At the top was written, Today You’re 1:
March 11, 1989 –
To Our Dear Sweet Vanessa Rose,
We wanted to write this card to you because we love you so much. Daddy and I cannot believe what a beautiful little girl you have turned out to be. You’re very sweet and kind and you have the brightest smile!
Daddy and I pray that our Lord Jesus will continue to bless and keep you for many years to come!
We Love You With All Our Hearts!
Mommy and Daddy
My heart melted. To catch a glimpse of my mom as a new mother, penning these precious words to her toddler daughter, was profound. How chaotic life must have been for her at that point. Twenty-six years old with twins. My dad working long hours to provide for our family. All the hopes and dreams they held deep in their hearts for my brother and I. All the prayers they prayed. Her hand penning those words as she experienced the exact same season of life that I’m in right now. I quickly picked up the card they wrote me for my 29th birthday – another first birthday for me, my first as a mother – and I read it again with fresh eyes:
March 11, 2017
Our Dearest Daughter,
Our love for you continues to grow with each passing year! We are so proud of the wife and mother you have become. We thank God daily for you and the path He has chosen for you.
This is a season of stretching and learning and leaning on Christ more and more as you are responsible to Drew and J.J. to be the best follower of Christ you can be. Oh how He loves and treasures you! You have no need for perfection, only to remain close to Him.
We Love You So Much!
Mom & Dad
Tears streamed down my face. These words written in 2017 are those of two people who have experienced the spectrum of parenthood. A seasoned mom and dad who have gained faith, perspective, and maturity along the way. And now they can share it all with the same little girl they wrote that card to back in 1989. All grown up with a family of her own. What a precious gift this life is. How dare I ever take it for granted.
How deeply I hope for my son, that one day on his 29th birthday his dad and I can write him a thoughtful card to encourage him – wherever he is at in his life at that point. I pray we’re all still here living life together, even if from a distance. I pray that until then we steward him well as we walk by his side through each season of his life.
And I hope he learns to keep his birthday cards, just like his mom and Nana.