Walt and Ellie were my grandparents. Until the day she passed, my grandmother sent my sister and I cards for all the major holidays, each with a handwritten note. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and of course Birthdays-they were never missed. But she also included Valentines Day, Halloween, and sometimes St. Patrick's day and 4th of July. As a child we were thrilled to get mail of our own mixed into the pile for our parents. As adults we were thrilled to get mail other than bills and junk. I still have those cards tucked away and pull them out from time to time when I need a pick me up or am having a particularly rough day. Their handwriting is etched in my memory.
My mother still does the same thing for my sister and I, though not for each holiday. And she doesn't reserve them for only holidays. Unexpectedly opening the mail to one of her cards can make even the worst day turn around. Sometimes the card is nothing more than a simple image with her comforting, familiar handwriting saying "I love you more" or "You've got this." Sometimes she finds a card with a saying on it that she feels fits us or our current situation perfectly and the only thing she writes inside is "xoxo, mom." And while my father has never been the emotional, mushy type, each birthday and Christmas card he writes a somewhat lengthy note to each of us alongside my mothers. And just like his father, Walt, his handwriting usually takes a few extra moments to make out because it is nowhere near as legible as moms is. Whether the handwriting is perfectly clear or unreadable chicken scratch that requires translation by the writer never matters. What matters are the feelings that come with recognizing the handwriting and realizing that someone took time out of their busy schedule to send you a quick note to remind you that you matter to them and they were thinking about you, even if only for a moment.
Between my grandparents and my parents, I've been taught many things-too many to ever fully list. I was taught to appreciate the beauty in handcrafted objects and handwritten sentiments. To appreciate the time, love and skill that went into each of them. I was taught to appreciate the people in life who mean the most to me, and to understand that they will not be around forever. I was taught to find beauty in the smallest things and to realize that there is beauty in the imperfections.
I believe that the art of handwriting is slowly fading away, along with the art of sending snail mail: a package, a card, a long letter. I believe that you can see bits of the writer in handwritten pieces. You can see the love they put in to it, or didn't in the case of a grocery list or quick note, and get an idea of the emotions they experienced when writing. Not only with the chosen words or phrase, but the strokes they used.
My hope is that you will find a print or card that speaks to you. Maybe it talks of a situation you have been in at one time, or evokes an emotion that you'd like to experience again and again. Or maybe it just makes you laugh. And if you find a piece that reminds you of someone, I hope you will order a copy and send it to them as a simple reminder that you were thinking of them, even for just a few minutes.