20 February 2007, 22.07 CET
If I were to assemble (and I couldn’t) all of the cards I’ve ever received from my parents (all four of them) as well as all of the cards I’ve sent to them I imagine that they would tell a certain kind of story about me, about each of them, and about the different tempers and tenors of our relationships.
I would be able to perceive certain arcs, notice gaps of certain years, watch how tastes changed (or stayed the same). To do this might even be embarassing—I suspect that earnest sentiments don’t age well.
However. Once you reach a certain age, and cards are being exchanged less by parents and children than by various kinds of adults, you one day realize that you’re sending a completely different kind of card than you used to. A kind of card that recognizes distances, difficult feelings, approval or disapproval, and a strange sort of cheery well-wishing.
Exhibit A of this sort of card is the one I posted today to my father for his upcoming birthday.
Diplomatic? Check. Rather distant? Check. Well-meaning? Check. Unsentimental? Check. Guilt-free? Check. Humorous yet vaguely aggressive? Check.
Mind the gap.