The next day, I went to Paper Source to get a binder or scrapbook or some kind of book thing, and I completely changed my idea of how I was going to present this gift because I was finding nothing that was matching the nebulous picture I had in my head.
One of the happy workers suggested that I make the binder scrapbook book thing I had in mind. Yeah, I really had time and patience for that!
I decided to present the letters as letters. Loose. In a beautiful portfolio on beautiful paper.
I hurried home and printed out the letters before getting the kids at school.
After the kids were tucked in to bed, I sat Matt down and explained that I had a birthday gift for him and apologized for the tardiness.
I handed him the portfolio, he opened it up, and read the title page,
“Letters to Matt—a celebration of your 40th birthday”.
I said a few words, and then shut up.
He held the portfolio in his lap and didn't move. He was stunned. Speechless. Rather than look through the pages, he asked me who they were from. It was as if the pieces of paper were too precious to handle.
Letter writing...a quickly vanishing art form. Oh how precious is that ink on that paper.
He was experiencing that pull between wanting to devour the letters and wanting to savor each and every word.
As he sat mesmerized, I quietly got up from the couch and left him alone for the rest of the night.
Periodically, I’d glance over at him. Reading, taking it all in, stopping, walking away, coming back, resuming, reading, taking it all in, and repeating the process several times.
He sent me an email the next day, a simple “P.S. I’m still reeling from that wonderful gift.”
I am too.
Thank you everyone. Thank you.