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Coffee, Cards, and Inside Jokes

I am waiting for my second carafe of coffee to be ready, and thinking wistfully about how different birthdays are as a adult from when you are a child.

Do you remember cutting photos out of the Sears catalogue to create a visual birthday gift wish list for your parents? As superficial as it might sound, let’s face it … gifts were really the highlight of a kid’s birthday. I can still remember some that particularly pleased me. There was a really cute stuffed toy cat that my friend Betsy gave me. I called him Max. He was big and grey and I’d keep him in my bed even though his whiskers tickled me in my sleep.

And now? Well, Hubby and I aren’t exchanging gifts this year. At least, not those kinds of gifts. There’s cards and, this, the adult birthday gift of breakfast in bed.


The light on the bedside table is on because it’s too dark outside so early in the morning. Hubby leaves quite early for his work, whereas I’ll be teaching two classes and home quite late. So, this was an opportunity to have a few minutes together as a family.

As I blearily accepted the breakfast tray onto my lap, I couldn’t help but look over at my son’s arms as he climbed into bed. I’d had a terrible nightmare last night that he’d been in an awful accident and his arms had been permanently damaged. I smiled in quiet relief and rubbed his healthy limbs.

Then I opened the card he’d picked for me. It was gorgeous, and inside he’d spent time to carefully print all of the words himself. R2D2 was always my favourite too.


From Stella, one of her drawings. Normally, she doesn’t colour them. But she knows I like it when they’re coloured. Check out those two eyes … what or who could it be? She said it’s a mystery.


Then I started to read the card from Hubby. It was a store-bought one with sparkles, sprinkles and hearts on it.


It was full of long prose inside. As I was reading it, I was thinking: “Gawd, did he really pick this out for me? Did he find these words meaningful? Geez … maybe we need to go to counselling or something.” Then I looked up at him and he held a straight face for a moment — but only a moment — before his sly sexy sideways grin slid onto his face. Phew! It’s still the same guy who bought me this for our 15th wedding anniversary. All is good in the world.

And so, here’s to another year granted on this earth. With my family. With my friends. And with you. I raise my coffee cup in solidarity and gratitude!

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  1. Hey Julie! Happy Birthday! I ‘m so glad you received so many wonderful cards for your special day. I didn’t cut out pics from the Sears catalouge for b-day presents, but we used to circle, dog-ear and mark pages we wanted from catalouges and flyers we received around Christmas time. I hope your students were easy on you today, too! Congrats, and I also hope you have a fabulous day!

  2. Happy Birthday, Julie! Those are some awesome cards!

  3. Love the family caring! Happy birthday!

  4. Happy birthday, Julie! Happy to know you. I love the kid cards – I still use little pictures they drew me years ago as bookmarks and they always make me smile. And I love the fake mushy card and the anniversary gift – a series of texts between me and my husband from when I was at Blissdom read like this: Me: “Did you miss my nice text, or are you trying to get me to say it again? Because you know that heartfelt shit is hard for me.” Him: “I don’t think so. But don’t worry – I wouldn’t want you to pull a muscle.”

    • I do exactly the same thing with cards and pictures — bookmarks! I love your texting humour! (If my husband ever actually got a phone, we might be able to do that too.) Thanks for pulling a muscle and leaving your kind birthday message for me! :) It means a lot when I know people actually read what I write. As a fellow blogger, I know you “get” this.

  5. Happy birthday Julie! Amazing cards indeed!

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