When I was a child, an envelope would arrive a few days before my birthday, from my grandparents. It contained a birthday card, of course, but also a long, newsy letter, and usually a gift of money, to enable me to pick out my own present.
For most of my childhood my grandparents were in Chicago on my birthday, both working in the city. But sometimes they were on vacation at that time, here on Beaver Island or elsewhere. Sometimes they were in good health, other times they had issues. Always, they were busy. My Grandmother had a large family in the city, of brothers and sisters and cousins and all of their children. My grandfather had six grown children scattered around Michigan (one in New Jersey!) and twenty five grandchildren.
Yet, never-failing, that card always arrived in time for my birthday.
My grandson, Tommy, turns eleven tomorrow.
I’ve been carrying his card around for a week.
One day, I had the card, but forgot the address. The next day I addressed the envelope but then left it sitting on the dining room table. Two days I missed the post office. Another two days I ran in for my mail before going to work, but forgot to bring the envelope in to post. Tomorrow I will mail Tommy’s birthday card, without any hope that it will reach him on time.
So, today I’ve been trying to call, so far without success. To wish Tommy a very happy birthday. To tell him that I love him. And to explain that his card will be late.
This isn’t the first time.
Though I have only five grandchildren, and I know all of their birthdays by heart, I am often late getting cards and letters in the mail.
It has happened often enough that I know the response I’ll get.
First my daughter, Kate, will say, “No problem.” She’ll have some assurance that it will be here in time for the party, which is on the following weekend, or that he has so many cards and gifts to open, better that it come later when he can give it his full attention. She’s very good at it.
Then Tommy. He’ll be happy for the call, glad to talk to his Grandma Cindy, and will mimic his mother’s “No problem.”
He’s a good, kind boy!
He deserves a more thoughtful, punctual grandmother!
Unfortunately, he’s stuck with me.
Which is very fortunate for me; I’m lucky to have this sweet young man for a grandson!
Happy Birthday, Tommy!