My mother was turning 80 years old. After 80 birthdays, how could we make this a unique birthday for her?
I came up with the idea of family and friends sending her birthday cards. That’s nothing new, but for that thoughtful twist the goal was for her to receive 80 cards by her 80th birthday! My brother and I called family and friends to put the birthday card blitz in action.
If you have been following my blog, you know my mother was deaf and I’m all about giving her gifts that are visual experiences. Like the year I popped out of a box.
On another birthday, I treated her and several of her deaf friends to a local diner that cooked fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans just like her mother, my Grandma, used to cook. Afterwards, I took them all to the Science Museum Oklahoma for fun hands-on-experiences. Mom and her friends loved her birthday party!
Mom knew my boss and several of my co-workers so I purchased birthday cards ready with stamps so all they had to do was to address the envelope, sign the card, and mail it. I asked my co-workers, who my mother didn’t know, to wish Mom a Happy 80th Birthday anyway. So that there was a connection, I requested they write in the card they worked with me and something nice about me – anything that would thrill a mother to read about her daughter.
My co-workers were wonderful to go along with the idea and oh… how they teased me about it. I told them, “You are never too old to read wonderful things about your kids!”
When my brother handed out the cards, he said complete strangers, who were waiting in line, heard his story and wanted to help reach the goal of our mother receiving 80 cards. Pretty awesome! He had to buy more cards but, luckily, he was already in the Dollar Store!
At first, Mom received a card or two in the mail, but with each day a few more cards would arrive and some days the postman would bring the cards to her door when there were too many to fit in the mailbox at the curb. She received beautiful birthday cards in all shapes and sizes with every design imaginable and many had the number “80” on them.
The final count was 122 cards.
Even though she used email and talked to her friends on the video phone, receiving birthday cards through snail mail made Mom happy and excited to go to the mailbox the old-fashioned way!
This gift idea also works well for 50th, 60th and 70th wedding anniversaries. To the lucky recipient, it will be like receiving a gift every day in the mail!
I’ve always felt there is something sacred in a piece of paper that travels the earth from hand to hand, head to head, heart to heart. – Robert Michael Pyle