Belated Birthday Cards are Better

Confession: I’m a snoop. I was that girl who knew every Christmas gift she received because I either discovered the present itself, or found the receipt proving the purchase. When I was about 11, I was doing my regular snooping when I uncovered a brown, slim paper bag in one of my dad’s desk drawers. Opening up the bag, I uncovered roughly half a dozen belated birthday cards. The belated Birthday cards were dedicated to sisters (my Dad has two of them and four on my mom’s side), nephews, nieces, and other family members.

Usually I would hide proof of my snooping but the small bag of cards intrigued me to no end. After all, my dad was the least likely person I knew to forget someone’s birthday. His desk was always neater than my mom’s and his memory when it came to random tidbits knows no bounds.

When I confronted my dad about why he had a plethora of belated Birthday cards, his answer was simple: Belated birthday cards are funnier and wittier than normal birthday cards.

To this day, I have a hard time reconciling the man who taught me to power walk with force in order to ensure punctuality, is the same man who will plan months in advance to miss his family members’ birthdays in order to send them a funnier card.

However, it makes sense. And I have to remind myself how it makes sense. You see, this lesson about intentionally sending belated Birthday cards probably represents the hardest lesson for me to learn. You see, it’s easy being fast and quick when that’s all you know. While I’ve always been the first one to finish a test, or write a 5-page paper within an hour, it’s also a trait that gets me in trouble.

Over the years, people have told me to count to ten before I speak in meetings in order to curb my desire to be the first one to blurt something out. And while my impatience might come from my Dad, he’s also instilled a more valuable lesson: sometimes the better thing is to just wait.

So Dad, I’m sorry I forgot to call you on Father’s Day. However, I hope this post is wittier and funnier than the Facebook post I would’ve written and the brief phone call I would have made. After all, sometimes waiting is what makes the difference between an okay Birthday card versus a belated card that leaves an impression.

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