One night, about a week after Josh did not receive any proper presents from his wife for his birthday, he announced that he knew what he wanted. "A love letter."
HA. I got this.
He said he got the idea a month back, when some little sister of a childhood friend asked for birthday mail from her Facebook audience. I guess he was feeling inspired in the moment, so he went upstairs to the greeting card stash, selected one from the Blank Inside drawer, wrote a nice note, and sent it on its way.
He was excited and inspired, but I was cranky. Yes, dear, you invented birthday mail. By the way, how is it that you have access to a Blank Inside drawer, not to mention the Occasions Organized by Event drawer, the Postcard drawer, and the Stationery drawer? HMMMMM? Oh wait, it's because your wife has been sending birthday mail since before she was your wife, before she was your girlfriend even.
In fact, we have had bitter fights about birthday mail. Sometimes, I ask him to write a note in a card that I'm sending, usually someone on his side of the family. I think his grandmother would appreciate a nice note from her grandson, rather than her granddaughter-in-law, who she's seen only half a dozen times. And he is agreeable to this idea - he thinks it's great! I address the envelopes and set the cards out on the kitchen table a week in advance of when they need to be sent. And yet we get down to the last day, and I have two choices: nag him to do what he agreed to do and receive a glare as if I am surely the meanest wife, asking him to write a nice note to his grandmother, geez. Or I could just do it myself, which is what I end up doing after he pouts about the assignment and then doesn't do it anyway.
Sometimes, I can get him to write a note if I do it Sudden Prompt! style. As in, here, we are on the way to my nephew's birthday party, I am driving, so write something in this card. And he does such a great job! He's so charming and interesting, and it makes the receiver so happy to get a personal message like that.
After all this complaining, you're thinking I will be unable to write a love letter to my husband, since our relationship obviously consists entirely of fighting about birthday mail. It is a dumb thing to fight about.
But last week, I sat down at the kitchen table with a pad from the Stationery drawer and wrote my husband a love letter. People complain about how no one writes letters anymore (some people do!), but I'm here to tell you that a hand-written letter can make you sound like a lunatic. It is a snapshot of a moment in a person's mind. There's no way to go back and edit, and while you might start with a plan of what you'd like to say, what comes out of the pen can be unpredictable. Also, your handwriting can get pretty gnarly by the third page.
I posted the letter, he received it, and it was a success. He said it made him love me, which I guess is the idea. Now we shall just see if he remembers his own assignment in a few months when my birthday comes along. I'm not going to nag, and I'm certainly not going to give in and write it myself.