As I was unpacking my belongings from a month-long winter break, I stumbled across a note that my mother precisely placed inside my suitcase for me to find. The note read "I love you sooo much! Love, Mom", and while my mom texts me she loves me everyday, there was something about reading her handwriting that made me grasp it with the utmost appreciation. This small token of gratitude was the start of my analyzation as to the way handwriting has lost its conventional usage.

To be frank, I cannot remember the last time I hand wrote someone a letter, a card, or anything. With technology rapidly rising, many would ask "Why would I need to when I have texting, emailing, or direct messaging?", but where is the sentimental value behind an emoji or a like button? While the use of technology is much more convenient than dropping off a letter at the post office, convenience does not always equate to gratitude.

People often refer to "love letters for their significant other" as a sign of dedication, and effort, but why is this trend shifted into a coded emoji sent through an invisible cloud for others? Parents, siblings, friends, professors, even the mailman-- are all just as deserving of handwritten letters. The scratched out and faded words, once placed mistakingly, are still recognized as a significant part of the whole letter, something the internet doesn't do.

A gift that lasts a lifetime- that is how I describe the numerous birthday cards I received from my brother before he passed away. There are only a few, but a few is all I need. Each time I open the cards, I am reminded that his hands once held it, thinking of how to acknowledge his little sister for her big day. They were never filled with money, and that is okay (it would've been gone in a week anyway), but what remains is his handwriting. His "O"s vertically squashed flat, nearly always mistaken for an "I". His "M's" always had an unnecessary line, to later be confused for a "w". His graffitied "Frank" nearly "mastered", but still confusing for me to read.

His handwriting may have been far from perfect, but to be able to reflect on the pen strokes knowing each letter, each word, each sentence, and each card was crafted specially by him, made for me. These cards became so rich in value to me that I eventually decided to get his writing "I Love You sooo much lil sis" tattooed on me. I look in the mirror each day with more and more gratitude for his words that still remain, constantly reminding me that he is by my side today and every day.

Whether it was writing my school absence notes or signing off on my college apartment documents, my mother's cursive is something I have always valued as part of who is she is. For years, I have tried to perfect her form of cursive because I was fond of the devotion she put into practicing it her entire life. Back when writing courses focused on "How to Write in Cursive", many people viewed this as an "unnecessary skill". Contrary to others, I was determined and excited to learn cursive. It made me feel as if my mother and I had a shared talent, something we would bond over for years to come. While many people have tossed cursive to the dump, it was a lot more valuable to me than I would've ever recognized at the time. Nearly 10 years later, I am still practicing, but receiving that handwritten card from my mother reminded me of the time that she took out of her day to write that especially for me.

So next time you're thinking of someone special, skip the text, and pick-up the pen and paper. It may take a little bit longer, but in the end, its worthiness may be more than you ever realized.

It sure was for me- I realize it every time I look in the mirror and read "I Love you sooo much lil sis".