Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bittersweet Cards

These St. Patrick's Day cards arrived in Monday's mail; the one on the left from my Mom and the one on the right from my Dad. Inside the cards someone from the adult family home had written "Happy St. Patrick's Day" but each was signed in a struggling hand by my parents. I could barely make out my mother's signature; she started over halfway through the first attempt, the letters painfully small and virtually illegible.

I can visualize the process; see them both sitting around the dining room table, a project laid before them, and caregivers supervising their efforts, coaxing and encouraging them to be festive. I'm struck by how the cards remind me of those made by my children when they were preschool age. The very young and the very old share so many commonalities although this is the first time I ever looked at their artwork in this way.

It made me sad to open these cards. Shocking perhaps to witness once again the physical and mental deterioration of these two most dear parents of mine. Receiving cards like this from my kids when they were four or five years old was pure joy. But this, is sweet and sad; guess that's why it's called bittersweet.


  1. That is so true. We are born and completely dependent on our parents for all our needs. They become old and revert back to helplessness and we become their parents and care for their every need. It always takes us by surprise, but one day it will be the same for us. Our children will make decisions for us and take care of our needs...and it will go on and become the same for them one day with their children...generation after generation...

  2. I bet this was hard for you- but the old saying rings true: "Its the thought that counts" I think its cute that they went through the effort to sign the cards :)


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