I look forward to her note every year.
It arrives without fail at least a day or two before his birthday. Her penmanship is beautifully old-fashioned; filled with curls and loops and pretty letters.
Sometimes her letter is written on a separate piece of note paper, folded in half, and tucked carefully inside the card. Other times her note is written on the hard cardstock itself. No matter the form, it’s her words that matter the most to me.
Over these last 26 years, I’ve had easily ten different addresses, and yet every year she sends me a note.
For 26 years.
For the first few years, her notes functioned as some sort of validation for me. The details of the circumstances, about which she wrote, were never discussed with my immediate family. Her letters were a warm hug; an “it’s ok” in my little world of uncertainty.
This year, she had other big family events that occurred around his birthday. Her note didn’t arrive in early October as in years past. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed, at least at first.
But then I realized I don’t really need the validation in quite the same way anymore. I was ok. I am ok. And also I’m not the center of the universe, for goodness sake.
In early November, the letter arrived.
And it totally and completely made my day.
It would be perfectly fine if she had forgotten.
But I’m so glad she remembered.