When You Care Enough

 

Hallmark’s famous slogan “When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best” was aimed at our heartstrings to increase our card buying habits, and it spurred an uptick in acknowledging special holidays. So many holidays in fact that it can feel burdensome to keep up with them all, and pre-packaging our sentiments can result in a lack of sincerity. While greeting cards are still around, they have definitely taken a backseat to e-cards, Facebook posts, and snappy animated video greetings as modes of acknowledging milestones. Quick electronic versions keep us from missing the occasion, but I’m not thinking this is what Hallmark had in mind. “The very best”? The slogan that’s more appropriate in the 21st century is “It’s the thought that counts”.

But, when you care enough….

It can mean you when care enough about yourself, about your need to connect, congratulate, celebrate and acknowledge the big and small events in your hub of the universe. It can mean that other people matter to you, and those friendships remain active and strong only when you put time into them. Relatives remain close to you when you stay in touch (so pick carefully!) Your connection to neighbors and co-workers increases when you reach out, even just with a “happy thanksgiving” note or a Halloween treat bag. Yes, by all means, have fun doing it. (You knew I was going to get to the play part sooner or later!) Use the opportunity to be creative, whether with words or photos, color or sound, with scissors or the computer.

It’s actually not about sending the very best. It’s about sending a little piece of yourself. Giving yourself time to find that piece of yourself. Maybe it is a JibJab photo card, or maybe it’s a Skype-delivered song. Or maybe it is a card.

This is the month of Valentine’s Day. So I am playing by making valentines. Not amazing, floral, hand-cut or watercolored mini-masterpieces. I wish. I’m not going for that very best.

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I’m taking advantage of the “need” for valentines and giving myself permission to spend 30-60 minutes mucking about with paper and glue. And I am not doing it with my kids this year. I’ll leave the materials out for them later, but this is about me…and maybe a little of that kid within me. I have great memories of being 10 and cutting out hearts and gluing doilies.

My supplies are stolen from my kids’ craft drawer: construction paper, heart stickers, glitter glue, and crayons. I will date myself here but long ago, in the days of the big purple dinosaur, I made my kids a Barney Box (our own version of the bottomless Barney Bag). I threw in miscellaneous items like straws, paper clips, pipe cleaners, rubber bands, tongue depressors, magazines to cut up, toilet paper tubes, and crumpled wrapping paper. On rainy days, my kids would rummage through it and make structures with cereal boxes or milk jugs; they started adding their own items to the Barney Box, like an odd button or cool plastic packaging insert. Their creative eye grew.  It’s been around for almost 20 years. Today, I took a shoebox and started my own Barney Box. (I will have to come up with a more sophisticated name!!) I’m starting with actual art supplies – my own crayons! – and will let it grow from here.

I can’t wait for a rainy day!

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