Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sympathy Birthday Card

When I was about 12 years old, I was at the supermarket and stumbled upon the greeting card aisle. My mom’s birthday was around the corner and she was turning the milestone age of 40. I hadn’t planned on buying her a card but my eyes caught sight of one with a flower on it and I read it and laughed. It was perfect; I bought her a sympathy card for her birthday.

The card I gave my mom said something about “being there in your time of need” and I thought this was appropriate for a 40th birthday. Getting older and becoming “over the hill” is difficult for many (although my mom didn’t take it too hard). I wouldn’t have given her a sympathy card if I thought she couldn’t take it. And to her credit, she took it fairly well. She was a bit surprised and maybe slightly offended getting the card, but it was funny and memorable. I’ve given her numerous birthday cards since then (nice inoffensive ones) but the card she still remembers and brings up from time to time is the sympathy card.

Thus, as a nod to this fond memory I made a birthday card that is intentionally sympathetic to the plight of getting older. When I think of sympathy cards, I think of flowers, foliage, birds and patterns; I decided to go with birds. On the front I put “deepest sympathy” by itself because I wanted it to look like a regular sympathy card that was just pretty and sweet. On the inside I put “on your birthday” followed by “I wish you the best in this trying time…” so the birthday person could realize that it was in fact a birthday card (albeit a slightly mocking one). 

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