You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
There is something inexpressibly special about birthday cards.
When I was small, my little hands could not wait to tear off the wrapping paper to get to the present underneath. Mums used to gently admonish me saying: “Gaynor, it is the card that is the most important. Read the card!”
Painstakingly I would read the card before once more indulging in the euphoric delight of unwrapping my beautiful present. Today I remember her words and think: How right you were!
Birthday cards contain a certain splendour to them. They are special!
The front may be humorous. It may be beautiful. It could have meaningful words printed on it in startling colours. But it is what you find when opening the card that may be exhilarating and exciting. Words written specifically to you on your birthday!
Throughout the years I have kept cards that meant something special to me. I laughed gently to myself when I uncovered the cards given to me by my nephew and nieces several years ago. These were not bought. These were lovingly hand made cards. I love the bright coloured, crayoned in drawings and the writing inside is sensational! I will never throw these priceless gifts away.
The disheartening thing is that I look at the price of cards in shops and I want to weep. The expense is astronomical. So I have stopped buying cards. I prefer to print out a letter or a ‘poem’ on ordinary paper and this is the card I now give accompanying my present.
It was Val’s birthday. Val Holland is a golf professional and one day remarked to me: “I am teaching men that have had strokes to play golf once more. It is so satisfying watching their improvement.”
“You are teaching men that have had strokes to play golf?” I repeated. She nodded her head. “Do you think you would be able to teach me to hit a ball again?”
Thus began one of my most enjoyable pursuits – one handedly hitting a golf ball. Last Friday I shouted with joy as the ball I hit twirled with an easy grace one hundred metres through the air.
Val had been quite emphatic about not buying her a present.
“A card, Gaynor, that’s all I want – a card.”
Val had been giving me free golf lessons for about a year and here she was saying: No present, just a card!
Refusing to buy a card, I bought beautiful paper and then wrote what Val has come to mean to me. Before my accident, I used to be right handed. Now, no longer able to use my right hand, my left has developed a writing all it’s own. It looks different to my old style but actually I think it’s quite presentable. I like it! Nevertheless, writing is always an effort for me. Somehow I am no longer able to write with the ease and grace I once possessed. My stomach tenses into a tight ball and relaxes once I’ve put my pen down. In actual fact, this is a terrific way of doing stomach exercises without the hassle of doing sit-up’s I do in gym! I simply pick up a pen and write!!!
I had Val’s card mounted and gave it to her on her birthday.
It now shines from her office wall at Kingswood Golf Estate.
Jans, my bestie, turned 70 in March. She also needed a non-bought birthday card! I decided to be more creative with this venture. I would write a ‘poem’ for Jans and then would surround it with a photographic collage of people that meant something to her. I had reams of photographs printed, wrote why Jans was important to me, had this produced on lovely paper and then set about cutting the photographs into shapes and fitting them together. With a right hand that no longer does your bidding, this was no easy task. B arrived to find this sweating, frustrated person battling to get the photographs into a organised cluster. B suggested I photograph the way I wanted all the shapes to fit together with my Ipad. Then I would know exactly how to stick them down. Great idea, why didn’t I think of it? I did this and then was able to work out which one must be stuck first, second and last! B watched and made suggestions. There was one particular photograph that she said would fit at the top. With my slightly clumsy handling of the scissors, she took over and was able to manipulate the photograph’s shape so that it fit perfectly into the allotted space.
I got such delight seeing the response of Jans to my beautifully framed ‘poem’ and collage. It nestles on her bedroom wall. Before she shuts her eyes at night, she is able to see the faces of so many loved ones.
B, my soulmate’s, birthday is on the 30th April. Unfortunately she was leaving South Africa to go back to England on the 25th April. So I gave her a beautiful present a week before she left. I realised that she must also have a Gaynor-made card. I wrote a ‘poem’ and had it printed on beautiful paper. No more stomach exercises for me! I had a mass of photographs to choose from. I cut them into certain shapes and sizes. Using B’s technique, I photographed how I wanted them to look. Out came the glue and I got to work. I didn’t have B’s help this time with the photographs that wouldn’t fit but I soldiered on. It took me three days but it was finally finished. I looked at this gift of memories that I had framed and…was pleased!
B and her husband, John had just moved into a beautiful new home in South Africa. It gave me such pleasure to see my memory-card smiling at me from her study wall.
I gave a part of myself to Val, Jans and B, in the creating of those Gaynor-Cards. They know that making them was not an easy task for me. They were devised with so much love. In Val’s, each stomach clenching word that was written out was actually saying: Thank you, dear friend – I love you! With Jans, my ‘poem’ says it all. B and I have known each other for nine years and yet it feels as if this individual has always been a part of my life.
A tap on my shoulder
To see this smiling pixie
Are you deaf?
I nodded my head
With a beaming smile, you replied:
We grinned at one another in mutual recognition
The Soul Mates had connected.
You know me
I know you
We have so much
Peace and contentment with both.
Is in knowing that
Until the end of time
We will be connected
And it all happened
With that one
Tap on the shoulder!