When Your Life Doesn’t Fit Inside A Hallmark Card

I took the trip again this year.

Because I forgot.

What a big waste of time it is.

Yet, each year, I feel compelled to go.

The event is big and must be marked.

And so, I make the trip.

Down the card aisle at the local drug store.

I pick up countless cards.

Not a single one fits.

Where is the card you give your daughter commemorating the anniversary of your adoption?

Where is the card that says meeting her and her dad almost six years ago was the best day of my life?

Where is the card that says I’m so sorry your first mom passed away when you were 8 years-old?

Where is the card that says getting to be your next mom, letting me adopt you, is the best job I’ve ever had?

I look each year.

There is no card.

I should remember.

I don’t belong on the card aisle.

I don’t have a Hallmark card kind of life.


In order.


Have you, Dear Reader?

Or do you also find yourself searching for that card?
Dog Is Good
The one that tells your friend how proud you are she got out of the bed the day after her husband finalized their divorce on her birthday?

The card that says, “Hooray!” You made it by on pennies this month when it seems like everyone else is flush with cash?
The card that says those scars from your recent surgery are more beautiful than the finest Picasso because they paint the picture of a survivor.

A warrior.

I don’t see those cards.

Someone must be living a Hallmark card life.

They certainly seem to stock a lot of those cards.

I don’t know any of those people.

I do know my daughter.

I know I must make a big deal of the third anniversary of her becoming legally what she has been in my heart since that day I met her.

My daughter.

I finally settled on a card with a picture of a hummingbird on the front.

The description says “The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us life is rich, every personal connection has meaning.”

That seemed appropriate as I see this sprout of a young girl blossom in a young woman before my eyes.

Her first mom would be amazed.

I know, even though I never got to meet her.

The best, part of this card was that it was blank inside.

“Perfect,” I decided.

I could write my own card, just as my daughter and I, along with her dad and her first mom are writing our own story.

It is the journey, she is the daughter I wouldn’t trade for anyone in the world.

No need to birth one of my own.

This is exactly the child I was meant to raise.

You, who also does not have the Hallmark card life, understands.

Life is too big, grand and complicated to fit inside of a pre-printed folded piece of cardboard.

The trip so worth taking.

Please catch my weekly newspaper column in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other newspaper across the country.

For some inspirational stories about being a mom, marriage, and finding hope, please check out my new book, “Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

 final front cover



When Your Life Doesn’t Fit Inside A Hallmark Card

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min
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