From Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul

The Forever Card

On a shelf in my bedroom closet is a dusty, wooden box where I keep special treasures. It is a tiny museum, of sorts; my past is preserved there. Childhood photos, postcards, graduation tassels, holy cards and newspaper clippings carefully lie together. Stored away are bits of fur from beloved pets and even wrapping paper from the box that held my engagement ring. But of all these precious mementos, one is most revered—the forever card.

Twenty-five years ago, after spending Christmas Eve with our three rambunctious children, my husband and I finally rested. Like other parents the world over, we were exhausted. This quiet, alone time was magical as we sat near the glow of the Christmas tree. I reached over to the end table and handed my husband a card that I had carefully chosen for him.

On the front of the card was a scene, reminiscent of drawings from the much-loved children’s book, Goodnight Moon. A man and woman slept sweetly alongside each other; a patchwork quilt covered them. A small, gray cat (much like our own cat, Jessie) was curled up at the foot of the bed, warming their toes, and a fireplace burned softly in the corner. A little Christmas tree sat atop an end table and through the parted window curtains, snow fell softly in the night sky. A feeling of serenity emanated from the picture. The card opened to a simple, beautiful expression, “Merry Christmas, I love loving you.” My husband and I both cherished that card; it captured the affection we held for each other. I saved that card and added it to my box of treasures.

The following Christmas, I shopped for a new card for my husband, but I couldn’t find one as meaningful as the card from the previous year. On Christmas Eve, as once again we sat alone together under the warmth of the tree lights, I offered my husband the same card. When he opened it he whispered, “I remember this card,” and he smiled as he gently kissed me. A feeling of comfort surrounded us as we sat in silence. For more than twenty-five years, we have repeated that custom and we are always left very moved.

Over the years, much has changed and life has thrown us a few punches. Still, on Christmas Eve, after the house is quiet, we sit alone by the glow of our tree and I tenderly place in my husband’s hands our card. I believe that we look forward to that one special moment more than anything else during the holidays. Like our skin and hair color, our card has wrinkled and faded with the passage of time. But one thing remains the same—the love we have for each other will last forever.

Susan J. Siersma

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