In certain countries, I've heard that right behind waterboarding and ripping a person's fingernails off with a pair of pliers, is a form of torture they call "Birthday Party Aftermath". This consists of locating the gift list from weeks and weeks ago, trying your best to decipher the handwriting of whoever wrote it, waiting for a rare moment of free time when you'd rather be doing anything else, and then using that precious time to write (basically) the same thing over and over again.
"Thank you for your generous gift. Mazzy loves her new outfit!"
"Thank you for the wooden sushi set. Mazzy loves it!"
"Mazzy loves her new caterpillar piano. What a wonderful gift!"
And on and on and on until every last uncle, seventh cousin twice removed, and new friend from the park is accounted for.
Maybe there are people out there that find this kind of correspondence enjoyable i.e. the late Jackie Kennedy Onassis. But I am not a master of etiquette, mass niceties or to put it plainly— grown-up behavior. Instead, I act like I'm a recently Bat Mitzvahed thirteen-year-old who thinks if she puts it off long enough, her mom will just do it for her (for the record, that didn't work).
Why am I talking about this now when Mazzy's first birthday was back in the beginning of December?
Do I have to spell it out for you?
YES. I put it off THAT long. And it's not that I don't appreciate the gifts. I really really do! It's just that there are so many things that fill up a day and before I knew it over two months had passed and I began to think that it would be better for everyone involved if I just scratched it off the list altogether.
Delayed Thank You Card Thought Process: The window closes on this sort of thing, no? And most people aren't sitting home waiting for my card to arrive, right? They probably don't even remember that they never got a card. And if they do remember, wouldn't they more likely think that THEIR card just happened to get lost in the mail rather than (horror of horrors) that I didn't send any at all? And isn't the whole idea of thank you cards kind of archaic anyway? And not environmentally friendly! I mean, as far as unacceptable behaviors, this one seems pretty forgivable, yes?
Fully confident that nobody would be ending a friendship over such a thing, I almost sold myself on it. But then my husband's aunt emailed me. The one I've only met once. And she said she had mailed a gift and never heard from us so she was wondering if we didn't receive it. Well, that did it. I knew I had to suck it up and write the damn things. But now, instead of a simple thank you, I had to explain my extreme embarrassment over finding myself in this self-inflicted situation.
So that's how I spent my Saturday. Waiting for the baby to fall asleep so I could tackle the thank you cards all at once. If there is a silver lining in this, it's that I got to write something more interesting than: "Thank you for the box of fancy socks. Mazzy can't wait to wear them!" Instead, I got to write things like:
Dear Such & Such,
Do you remember my birthday? Probably not— it's was over two months ago! But I remember that you got me an awesome [insert gift here] and even though my mom thought you might not notice if you never received a thank you, I told her that it's cool if she wants to have abysmal manners with her own friends but it's not cool to bring her one-year-old daughter down with her. So please don't let my late thank you card reflect on me— BLAME MY MOTHER. Scratch that— blame my parents. Why is it that dads are always let off the hook when it comes to correspondence?
Lots of love and thanks again!
Now If only I could summon the spit to lick the envelopes.