Take Care

One of the best things about being American is Care Packages.

No matter where I’ve been, be it summer camp, college, my first apartment, or all the way in Ireland, my friends and family have always sent the most amazing Care Packages. You know what I mean – boxes filled with homemade cookies, a letter, particular snacks, maybe a mixed CD or a hand-made scarf.

Brown Paper Packages

Maybe it seems cheesy, but you don’t know just how much Care Packages have meant to me over the years. I’ll never forget when I moved here to Drogheda, one of my friends in Indiana sent a box filled with all the stuff I missed – Cheetos, chocolate chips, brownie mix, special body wash, etc. It totally made my week when I was feeling a bit down and homesick. Then there were all the boxes that arrived when I was expecting Evelyn, and even after! Boxes of hand-me-downs from my sister, toys and clothes from my friends, even books to help me make it through labour.

And let me tell you, postage is stinking expensive, especially US postage!  I know, because I’ve sent a few Care Packages in my day, too. It takes a truly unselfish spirit to spend a small fortune shipping baby sheets and towels to a lonely mommy-to-be overseas!!!

The best Care Packages I receive are still the ones that come by surprise.  Some of the ladies who volunteered when I worked  at Heartland send boxes with adorable toys, clothes and books for Evelyn.  My mom often sends envelopes full of bits from the local newspaper (she calls it “Mom’s Clipping Service”), and if she’s feeling really nice, she will put in a bag of flavoured coffee or some Reese’s candy.  When I get a care package of Trader Joe’s goodies, I am guaranteed to let out a squeal of delight.  And Frank is never far behind, looking over my shoulder to see what might be meant for him, and what he can sneak when I’m not around!

But right now it’s my turn to share the favour. My best friend just fractured her face and elbow in a bike accident, and the first thing I thought when I found out was, “I’ve got to send her a Care Package!” It’s so maddening sometimes, being too far away to jump in the car and run over to her house to make dinner and plump up pillows behind her… but this is something I can do. I’ll try to fill a box up with some of her favourite things, maybe some unique bits from over here, and hopefully it will make her feel better.

Do other nationalities send Care Packages? None that I’ve ever heard of, anyway… certainly no Irish folks I know of send Lyons tea or Tipsy Cake to their family and friends abroad. That’s a shame – I think it’s a tradition worth sharing!

What would be in your ideal Care Package?

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10 thoughts on “Take Care

  1. I think care packages are wonderful…love in a box! Just this afternoon I sent a box of cookie bars to a grandson who is away for his first year of college. Truly enjoy (and look forward to) all of your postings.

    • Haha, thanks C. I’m not very good at the handcrafted stuff the way you are, though! Hope you’re feeling better – keep an eye on the mail! 😉

  2. Hi Maryann, when I spent a year in Australia, and when I was away at college in Wales, my mother regularly sent me what you call care packages. It would usually contain, Barrys tea, Emerald sweets, Tayto, the Drogheda Independent and the Meath Chronicle and a pack of Kimberly bicuits.
    By the way did you have any success with your Angel Food cake pan.

    • Hi Elaine – well, I stand corrected! Nice to know some Irish moms send love from afar, too! 🙂

      I did indeed have success with the cake pan, thanks again! I meant to post about it – I made a cake for a friend’s birthday a few months back and it turned out really well! I was even thinking of making one up for my husband’s film crew next week. Thanks for asking! 🙂

  3. Care packages are awesome! I still get them from my mother and grandmother 3 or 4 times a year, and have received them ever since I left Germany to make the world my home over 20 years ago!

    I do the same however. I have a good friend who just recently retired from the US Marine Corps and his 3 deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan I would send him care packages from the UK and from here in Spain.

    And yes, you are right, postage is hideously expensive. I remember sending his Christmas Package (lots of x-mas goodies from various European countries in them, plus awesome coffee) and the postage was twice what the goods inside cost.

    On top of it, I used to order books for him on Amazon.com, which was easier, since I used the free postage option (I’d rather send him two books at once than pay for it), and since the military paid for it taking the trip from the US to the various posts he was at, at least then, postage was no issue.

    But yes, care packages are awesome and I both love sending and receiving them!

  4. Hello, I am wanting to surprise my boyfriend with a care package from the U.S., but I am not sure if there are restrictions on what i can send. Can you offer any advice? He has been in Ireland for the past 3 years and we only see each other once a year. Thanks in advance for your help!!!

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