In parent and adult child estrangement situations, we deliberate over sending cards. Moms and dads stand in the card aisle reading verse after verse, wondering how it will be received. Will my estranged adult child read an unintended message between the lines?
Parents click through electronic greetings for just the right words, images, and animation. Is it too jolly, too mushy, or does it overstate the current relationship?
Even when parents find what they consider an appropriate card, they wonder if the effort might be rewarded or only bring them more grief.
- Will she misinterpret the message?
- Do I dare hope for a rekindled relationship?
- He might be mad that I didn’t enclose a gift card or cash.
It’s so sad that, in parent and adult child estrangement situations, contemplating something as simple and lovely as sending a greeting card can trigger such grief.
Consider reaching out a gift
Argentinian poet Antonio Porchia had it right:
“I know what I have given you, I do not know what you have received.”
In the end, the card’s design, colors, pictures, or message, no matter how carefully selected, will be interpreted by the receiver in a way that they choose.
The answer? Give freely.
My intention here is not to tell those parents in estrangement situations that they should or should not send a card. Each situation is unique. Those sorts of decisions are not mine to make or judge you for. But at this time of year in particular, I hear from a lot of parents who are deliberating.
My suggestion: If you do decide to send a card, do so freely—as you have so many kindnesses toward your child from as long ago as forever. And then let the outcome go.
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