The Hell With Hallmark

My 45th birthday is today.  Yes, I just announced my age to the whole world.  Why?  Well, two of my three children and Joel’s cards were age themed–as in, old aged.  I am not bothered by the number. 

For me, the best present is reading the birthday cards my children and husband select. It is fair to say that they have me pegged….no sappy cards, please.  Humor, teasing, and a touch of sarcasm, perhaps a tiny dose of irreverence are all acceptable, preferable even.  Please, please, please no Hallmark moments!  No subliminal Muzak in the background.  No softly focused commercial scenes where the mother breaks out in tears after being declared wonderful and perfect.  If I’m crying, it better be from laughter.  Additionally, I become tickled watching my children anticipate my reaction because they all seem to share my sense of humor.  Joel enjoys taking them to the store and turning them loose to independently read and select their individually signed cards. As demonstrated by one card this year, he allows them some latitude, mildly uncensored, in the ideas expressed.

On top of the cards, due to a prank dare by Sarah Grace to Samuel to wear one of her ballet tutus and become the birthday card fairy, my cards were hand-delivered by Samuel in a white sparky ballet tutu and leotard combination, with his brother and sister trailing into my bedroom behind him.  However, I promised not to post a picture of the birthday fairy because Noah was mor-ti-fied, and he said, “Mom, teachers read your posts!  They tell me they do!  Don’t let them see Samuel like this!”  (Samuel, for his part, related the prank to being Gru in the latest Despicable Me II movie. Or to Joel’s Halloween costume as discussed in a recent blog post, pictures included.)

First, Sarah Grace’s card:  A tastefully drawn young woman with a hand outstretched palm up says, “You can breathe easier this birthday….”, then inside, “The high priestess only picks the younger maidens for human sacrifice.”

Next, Samuel’s card:  Another tastefully drawn young lady stands in front of a birthday cake with many candles.  “Hey, Birthday Girl- don’t throw away those candles!”….then inside, “You’ve got enough wax there to keep your legs hair-free for years!”

Joel’s card, but selected for Joel by Noah:  A cartoonish dinosaur playing hopscotch says, “It’s your birthday! Enjoy Yourself! Play the same games you did when you were young…..”, then inside, “Ring Around the Stagecoach, Name All Three Presidents, and Hideth and Seeketh…”

And, finally, the best one, perhaps closest to my funny-bone (shhhh…don’t let on to the kids that I have a favorite card, please!), Noah’s card:  A group of cartoon drawn porcupines, reminiscent of the Far Side animals, all wearing conical party hats stand among floating balloons, while surrounded by even more deflated balloons and the caption “POP!” scattered throughout the picture.  Two porcupines, standing front and center, face each other while one says, “BALLOONS? WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?”  After laughing, and then watching Noah giggle, I asked, “Did Daddy allow you to pick this out?”  He nodded, hand over mouth, so tickled at the slightly impermissible language in the card, and that he got away with giving it to me!  As a friend of mine recently commented, Joel is a very understanding man.

How could I fault Noah?  The apple does not fall far from the tree.  For Father’s Day, a year or so ago, when I handed my card to Dad while in church, I warned him not to open it in church.  Only open it at home.  I suspected the card would not be appreciated by some as being chosen by “the pastor’s wife”.  Why?  The card said: “Happy Damn Father’s Day!”, then inside, “That’s right I said Damn.  I am a grown up now and you can’t do anything about it.  Damn, Damn, Damn.”  Did Dad laugh?  Oh yes.  And smirked with his infamous Cheshire Cat toothy grin.  Bingo!  A card home-run.

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