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.
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?