The story behind the card: Milestone birthdays


I started chemotherapy (the first time) in February 2016. I had 3 different appointments every 3 weeks for 6 rounds. The second time I had chemo, same schedule. This third time, it’s only once every 4 weeks and my guest driver this Monday is a woman who has taken me to every single round of chemo previously.

She also happens to be the source of the idea for the first cards I made for Virginia James Paper — the milestone birthdays. We talked about them in our first outings to chemo way back in 2015. She lamented at how the average birthday card for women older than 30 were reminded not of aging gracefully, but of where their respective body parts had sagged.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if there was a birthday card that celebrated and honored the person whose birthday you were celebrating?”

Indeed it would.

And so, on my “good weeks” (the ones where I wasn’t racked by nausea and fatigue) I slowly built 7 cards to mark each decade’s passing, with a carefully selected quote on the front, and on the inside: It is an honor to know you.

My friend, the woman who has been a constant in my life since middle school, was one of the first to receive these cards on her milestone birthday. Because it is an honor to know her, and we should celebrate that sort of aging more often.