"In February, my hubby celebrated his 60th birthday. I wanted to do something extra special for this milestone birthday. I pondered all sorts of gifts and trips and surprises. He was adamant that he wanted to celebrate quietly (no surprises) just the two of us. Hmmmm! I couldn't just celebrate quietly--I had to do something extra special for my extra special guy.
"Then BINGO! I remembered what a friend of mine did when her Dad turned 70. She made it her goal for her Dad to receive 70 birthday cards. I thought I can do this for Jim--have him receive 60 snail mail birthday cards. Not just texts and emails and phone messages but actual snail mail. I contacted a lot of friends and family and everyone was more than happy to participate and spread the request to others. Instead of Jim receiving them a few at a time up until his birthday, I confiscated our mailbox key a month before his birthday. I told him that I had a surprise gift for him and I didn't want him to see it until his birthday.
"A few days after my request went out, I opened the mailbox and it was piled high with brightly colored envelopes--a sure sign that they were birthday cards and not bills! Haha! I was so touched, I got all teary eyed. Day after day, I gathered up a pile of cards, took them home and hid them. I was going to wrap them all up in one big happy box for him to open on his big day. Until my friend found me a red painted vintage ballot box for the cards. The night before his birthday, I stacked all the cards in the box and put a tag on it that read "The votes are in--you are loved!"
"The big day arrived and we did have the quiet celebration that he wanted in front of the fire. I gave him a few small joke gifts (like a t-shirt that said "It's weird being the same age as old people"). After he opened his gifts, I said "Oh yeah, I've got this cool box for you." And I went and got the ballot box. He read the tag but was a little confused. He opened it up to find not 60 birthday cards--but 186 birthday cards all sent snail mail!!!! It took him four nights to open and read and cherish every card. His words to me: "This is absolutely the best birthday I've EVER had!!!"
Next time you want to make someone's birthday unforgettable, I hope you remember this story—and plan ahead! What an incredible gift to be surrounded by words of love. Especially in snail mail form, because those words live on, and seeing people's unique hand writing is so special, don't you agree?