As I was going through the massive pile of paper-clutter in our kitchen, a small old-fashioned greeting card fell out between a coupon for Victoria’s Secret push up bras..and a menu from our local Pizza Ranch two things I swear I will never ever use…but somehow always end up coming in handy. The card is vintage. And when I say vintage…I mean straight outta the attic vintage. My Aunt March must have gotten a good deal on greeting cards a long time ago…because she sends these blast-from-the-past cards for every life event. For my daughter, there are HollyHobbie girls with flowers. For my boys, there’s always fishing poles and puppies. And evidently all men in vintage world are hunters, because my husband’s cards show pheasants, ducks, deer, and guns. The school house cursive writing scrawled on the inside can be guessed at before we even open the card. Aunt March’s calendar marked with birthdays, anniversarys, graduations…. looks like Martha Stewart’s to-do list, and she has invented an ingenious system of figuring out the ETA for each card she sends. If she wasn’t so busy taking care of the little home and farm my grandparents built, she could seriously consider running a Fortune 500 company.
And when I stopped to look at the card, I realized what a huge deal her thoughtfulness is, although it’s fallen into the category of things to take for granted. The sun comes up every morning, the garbage man shows up every Friday, and my Aunt March always remembers us. So, I knew what my gift would be today would be. I’ve never called my Aunt. Which is so weird when I consider how much I love the phone, and talk on it faster than a desperate telemarketer trying to sell funeral insurance. I see her every Christmas, and usually a couple more times throughout the year. But we’ve just never crossed the threshold of calling each other. I had no idea what she would think of hearing from me, but I decided to do it.
The joyful hello on the other end took me by surprise, and nearly left me speechless. Which was a good thing. Because I realized, she needed me to be a listener today. It’s a position I know
nothing very little about actually, because I’m always usually the talker. As in, it’s hard for people to get a word in edgewise kind of talker. But my instincts told me to do a lot of Oh really?’s and O for Pete’s Sake! ‘s. As I got ready to hang up, she said…O sweetheart. This was so nice! what a surprise to hear from you!
I hung up feeling happy…and content. And I immediately had a flash back, of my 6-year-old self, bending Aunt March’s ear about some treasures I had found in Gramma’s attic. I could hear her saying, oh really? for Pete’s sake! She gave me the gift of being a listener when I needed it most. And today, I was able to give it back, 34 year later. What a good kinda day this is.