For nearly half a century, at least for those moments I qualified as conscious, I never associated a greeting card as anything more than a placeholder for a check. Sometimes the check was folded inside and only added to the mystery of how much Mom and Dad would give me for my birthday. When I opened the card in front of them I would read it out loud. Usually it rhymed, was pretty hokey and I learned to smile nonetheless as my eyes darted from the words to the amount of the check. Money was the energy that fueled my young mind. Boy, was I missing out.
My parents split up in early 1982. Though my Mom continued to come through, the birthday cards from my Dad were never a guarantee. There were many years when they just never appeared, and at other times were a month late. I was into my thirties when I realized the “dad cards” that did arrive would do so without a check.
Cut to my 47th birthday. Actually it was ten days prior when my Dad called to see if I had gotten his card. I hesitated to call him on this, since at 81, he was entitled to a little confusion around this. Yet I couldn’t help myself. What kid wants to wake up and realize how hard it is to raise parents! So, I said something and he responded adamantly that he wanted to get it out early this year. No argument on my end but also no card. I told him I would look out for it.
A part of me wondered if it went to my neighbor, the guy downstairs with the same last name who was still in Florida caring for his aging folks. In my mind I’m thinking he would have contacted me it he discovered it in his forwarded mail. Besides, is it really worth my time tracking down a folded piece of paper? Married, father of one, another 2 months away, busy Coaching practice; there were other things that needed my attention. My Dad and I never discussed it again. Not even on my actual birthday.
Two months later, less than 10 days before my wife was to give birth, my father suddenly passed away. I was stunned. We were anticipating an arrival, not a sudden departure. It all seemed like too much.
My email made a buzzing noise as I searched for an airline ticket home. Something told me to stop and check it. As I switched screens I could see the email was from my neighbor – the guy who shared my same last name. “Mitch – I’ve been taking care of my folks so I’ve been a little remiss in contacting you. I have some mail here for you. I think it’s a card.” In that moment I knew it would be the most important card I would ever receive. And, it was — Memories of a son, rhymes and all, and especially the line he wrote on his own – “Always on my mind, never out of my heart, Love ya, Dad”
So, here it is and I’m telling you straight – A card is never just a card. A card carries a powerful, loving energetic from the moment it is sent until the moment it arrives. And then it reverberates on impact and spreads from there. Because of my own experience, I developed a program in my practice called, Card Therapy. It teaches people to see, love, appreciate, not only others, but themselves. Right now and before we miss those opportunities. Before a goodbye robs more people of that chance. I’ve even developed a Card Therapy Gratitude Program for kids. You can see that in action by clicking this link — http://tinyurl.com/7cscdsz
For so many years I thought I wanted the check. Knowing just how much my Dad loved me… it’s the card that has made me one of the richest men on the planet.
Mitch Newman, M.A., The Relationship Coach, has been working with individuals, couples and corporate honchos for nearly a decade, utilizing his State of the Heart communication tools and techniques to enhance all types of relationships. His latest creation, Card Therapy (www.cardtherapy.com) has turbo-charged the healing process through the sending and receiving of heartfelt greeting cards. He resides in Beverly Hills, CA with his wife Wendy (a Personal Brand Coach) two young daughters (his best teachers) and his dog Snuffy (the only one who listens to him). He can be reached for Coaching or Speaking Opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org