Here you'll find current musings, as well as the archives from two blogs of yesteryear: YoungMarriedMom and What I Learned While Writing a Novel. Please comment and share. We love well when we are in conversation with one another. 


welcome to a space grounded in

humor and humility

Young married mom

what i learned while writing a novel



Modern Perspectives, Parenthood, Young Married Mom

September 19, 2011

Monkeys, Uncles, and Birthdays

Last week Jacob and I set out to find a card for John’s brother’s birthday (hi, Karl!).

The first shop we went to was a fancy paper store, but their cards were a little too jazzy and hip and didn’t convey the love we wanted to express.

The second store was, admittedly, a drugstore.  But I have a history of finding some pretty great cards at drugstores.  Here I decided we should not only get a birthday card, but an “uncle” birthday card.  This decision was made, in part, because the only non-funny (they’re rarely funny to me) “brother” card was way too sappy.  The hurdle now was that there were no “uncle” cards at this store.  None.  “Aunt” cards? Yes. “Niece” cards?  Yes.  “Nephew” cards?  Oddly, yes.  But “uncle”? Absolutely not.

Confused as to how someone had rationalized that all the nieces and nephews in the world—who were happily celebrating their birthdays with folded paper greetings—only had aunts.  People have brothers.  And aunts get married.  Where’s the love for the uncles?

Bummed, we moved on to another drugstore.  (There are lots in these parts.)  Again, no “uncle” card.  Really?  Really?

An afternoon walk turned into a trip to Target and there, finally, we found it.  Nay, them.  Four—count them—four “uncle” cards to choose from.  This sounds like a great discovery, but if you’ve seen the hundreds of cards for myriad occasions Target has to offer, you may not be so impressed.  I was, but only momentarily.

Giddy with victory, I picked up the cards one-by-one and read them.  The first was sweet, but was written with the voice of an older niece or nephew, i.e. referring to things Jacob hasn’t done with Karl yet, like ask advice (as far as I know).  The second was funny, but probably only to me and the guy that wrote it.  That left two.  Incredible—I’d used the process of elimination twice and still I had a choice.

As if shopping for an “uncle” card hadn’t taken enough strange, and perhaps inconsequential-in-the-long-run turns, I realized that my two options both had monkeys on them.  One made reference to the amount of fun contained a barrel of monkeys.  This one was signed “xoxo” and I just can’t see Jacob writing that.  The other—and ultimately the chosen one—made no direct reference to monkeys.  It just had a monkey on it.  The bit of humor about a “bunch” of love could have been as much about grapes as it was here about bananas.  But apparently monkeys and uncles just go together, in a way that uncles and birthdays do not.

Moral of the story:  Make a card next time.  And don’t forget to draw a monkey on it. Uncles like that stuff.

  1. ceciliamaria says:

    I feel your pain! No matter what the occasion may be that requires a card, I loathe card shopping. You had more perseverance than I did when looking for Karl’s birthday card, though. I gave up after two stores, bought a blank card at the second store and wrote my own message. That’s as close as I’ll get to making my own card these days! lol!

    I’m glad you were eventually successful in your search. Karl was very excited to get an ‘uncle’ card from Jacob. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *