We are a letter writing, card giving family. I got Birthday cards appropriately filled with gushing words from adoring parents for as long as I can remember growing up. I remember poring over the cards for days on end, they made me feel warm and loved by my parents. It gave me a warm protected feeling, taking the place of hugs and goodnight kisses. Since my parents settled back in Nigeria, for some weird reasons, I had become highly uncomfortable with the rough hugs my father gave us. I know it is his way of showing love, but he hugs in a funny way still till this day trying to force my 20 something head on his shoulders. I bear it nowadays because, heck, I only see the man about once a year. But I digress.
I got Birthday cards from my siblings and friends as well. I got Success cards when I had exams and Congratulation cards when I passed my exams. I got Easter cards and Christmas cards as well. I got Get-well-soon cards and Be-my-val cards. Well only one Be-my-val card, but it still counts, doesn't it? I also loved to give cards. I pored for minutes in gift shops trying to pick out the exact card which would convey the intensity of my feeling for my mom/ dad/ siblings/friends, in fact for who ever it was I was getting the card for.
I have saved all my cards since I was about 10, maybe, and I carry them around with me. That is one of the few indulgences I allow myself in my worldwide voyage. I have left furniture behind without batting an eyelid, shed a few tears over some books before eventually leaving them behind, left things behind with the hope of eventually returning to get them sometime, but never my cards. I always take them with me. They are of the utmost importance to me. Even if I only pore through them once every year, or sometimes even more irregularly, yet I know they are there waiting to take me years down memory lane, to that card from daddy on my 13th birthday, that card in which my mummy wrote how proud of me she was, that first handmade card from Eddie or that christmas card from my friend T whose becoming a mother anytime from now........The only thing that means more to me than my cards are my letters.......but that is a post for another day.