I had seen what looked like a simple and fun idea online (Pinterest, where else?) and I decided to try to recreate it for her special day. It was definitely fun but the verdict on simple may still be out.
In as few words as I can manage, ahem, here's how it worked-I downloaded this poster template which in essence is actually 25 postcard templates. When these 25 postcards are put together they morph into a poster which reads-'I'm so glad you were born'. Without telling my daughter, I emailed 25 friends and family members, explained what was required, and asked them to email me back if they were in. Tracking down the friends was a little tricky as I had to semi stalk them on facebook. The boyfriend mentioned to her later that his heart started pounding when he saw my name in his inbox. Apparently he was wondering what he'd done to warrant an email from me. Hmmm....I might need to think about that reasoning a little bit more closely when life settles down here.
In a project like this it pays to have a rather large extended family...13/25 postcards were assigned to grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Daughter2 has a bazillion friends so narrowing it down to just 12 wasn't easy. I went with a few besties from the high school years who are scattered far and wide, including one across the sea, and then a few friends from the college years, and one special friend who goes all the way back to her toddler days. Mostly I went with friends I felt would remember to mail the cards.
Once I had my 25 names confirmed I assigned a postcard to each one and sent them an email along with instructions and their template. They had to open the attached template, print it out on card stock, write a birthday message along with her address on back, and then put an actual honest to goodness stamp on it. And then mail it of course. I knew that last part would be hard for some of the friends because this generation resists sending snail mail. That requires going to the post office. Bother.
I asked everyone to get their cards in the mail between Aug. 30 and Sept 4 so Daughter 2 would have all of them by her actual birth date. Originally I wasn't going to tell her anything but after I thought about it I decided she might read a postcard and chuck it and I didn't want her to lose any of the pieces. A couple days before the first was due to arrive I told her she'd be getting mail all week long and not to throw it away. She got three cards the first day and knew right away it was some sort of puzzle.
I attempted to photograph the end product while I was in town recently but she was missing one card. She had to track that one down so I was glad I'd kept my list of names and which numbered card they'd been assigned. Naturally its the one in the middle but still really cute-
This was a fun surprise and she absolutely loved it. She loved the birthday wishes and all the love sent her way, she loved the idea of working out the message, and most especially she loved going to her mailbox every day and seeing it jammed with postcards. While they might be resistant to mailing letters college students are big huge fans of receiving letters.
I've tried to white out all the names and addresses but I think you still get the idea.
And my mom wrote her message on the patterned side of the card which we all just love because that is so my mom. It made Daughter2 smile.
The finished product is a collection of happy thoughts and sweet wishes in ink and paper and color on one side with a heartfelt message on the other. I had fun planning this and Daughter2 has a special keepsake to mark a milestone birthday.