Monday, March 22, 2010

I have a wonderful relationship with my Mom. I do not say that to brag or to make those who don't have a similar relationship feel badly. It is just a simple truth. My Mom is a lovely person, inside and out and she's the most loving, solid, fair-minded, genuine, sincere person I know. I could write for years and never truly capture on paper or computer screen every reason I love her and why she is so special. Today, I'm going to focus on something she has done my whole life...she creates Care Packages.

You know what those are, I'm sure - they're little bundles of inexpensive items that someone who loves you picks up when they're out and about that captures their eye and makes them think of you. Sometimes it might be a food Care Package, full of goodies that are sure to be your favorites. Most holiday meals result in a food Care Package to take home with you that provides meals for you for several days.

My Mom loves her kids, plain and simple. She now extends that love to her two Grandsons and creates Care Packages for them whenever she's out shopping. Personally, I have kept things she's given me over the years that have very little monetary value but that hold such loving significance for me that they are priceless items.

When I was very young, my Mom gave me two small pottery trinket boxes that had gold leafed edges and pastel colors. I remember her watching me open the boxes they came in and telling me, "Maybe you can use them for jewelry as you grow up." I couldn't have been more than 9 or 10 years old at the time, of an age where toys were usually more desirable gifts, but those two little trinket boxes are still with me. I use them for jewelry items that are dear to me and each time I open them, I am embraced by that inestimable, indefinable sense of love from my Mother. All is right in my world and I feel accepted, loved and secure.

With age comes the recognition that Care Packages aren't always corporeal. Many times we send Care Packages along to a loved one in the form of a phone call, or, as is common in this technological age, an email, a Facebook or Twitter post, a text or an e-card. Prayers are yet another, more highly energized form of a Care Package. I think anything that touches our heart, reaches out to someone else in the same way and leaves the day brighter as a result is a form of this time honored tradition.

No, it isn't necessary to have a physical item to deem something a Care Package. I talk to my Mom daily on the phone, sometimes many times a day and that will fill me up inside with those same emotions. She makes me laugh and she understands me like no other person on Earth does. We always take pieces of those we love with us in our memories, so again, it isn't necessary to have a physical item to identify with. There's just something so sweet about the fact that my Mom still does this for me and my sister and brother, even though we are adults.

The nice thing is that this habit has continued - by my Mom's example, I tend to do this same thing with Care Packages. I don't have children yet, but I tend to pick up those small items for friends and family members when I spot something I know will be perfect for them and give them a little moment of surprise and pleasure. I also tend to shop throughout the year for Christmas gifts for family. In fact, just the other day I ran across something that is ideal for my brother and I snapped it up to tuck away for Christmas.

I have a girlfriend whose daughter is currently deployed to Iraq and I've been gathering items for a Care Package box to send over to her and her friends. My girlfriend mentioned that the soldiers share Care Package goodies with friends who don't receive mail; that comment literally broke my heart. I could not fathom people in our Armed Services being overseas, working daily for all of us, yet not receiving anything from home. So, Care Package creation is in full effect! The picture to the left here is of SPC Whitney Moody and her family - her Mom, Janet, is one of the strongest, most positive people I know. If you would like to learn more details about supporting our U.S. Armed Forces and sending Care Packages to those deployed, please visit the Boots on Ground Website.

True to her loving nature, when I mentioned this to my Mom recently, she said, "Take me with you the next time you go shopping; I want to help add to the Care Package." I am confident that the package we send will be chock full of useful, fun, girlie items, as well as some things to munch on, and a few things that are just frivolous and cute in nature, such as games and toys to fill the long hours when Whitney and her friends are bored and homesick.

Life is challenging for all of us on a daily basis. There are so many reasons to choose to dwell on negatives. I have found that doing for others, as was taught to me by the example my wonderful Mom set, is a sure-fire method to lift any gloom surrounding you. There's something so delightful about picking up a small, completely foolish item that costs very little, with a loved one in mind, simply to tease a smile out of them. It is a small affirmation that, yes, you matter - you are loved, you are in that person's thoughts and you deserve to be showered with that type of warm attention for no particular reason.

If I could, I would gift every person I know with the relationship I enjoy with my Mom. I think she's that special. And as is that special relationship between loving parent and loving child, she feels the same way about me. She shows it in those Care Packages...those little touches of whimsy, those little inconsequential items that I rarely indulge myself with, those little unusual decorative items that have no particular purpose other than to make me smile. That's my Mom loving me in her quiet, gentle way.

Don't get me wrong, she loves me outwardly too - she showers me with hugs when I'm in her presence, and when we are together, we have that silent language that is shared between family members. We can also be together and not speak a word for hours - simply being together is the joyful thing, especially given that it doesn't happen as often as we'd both like. Dratted Life gets in the way, as it does for all of us. We laugh often. I think that is a beautiful thing.

I have said this before - when people comment on my loving nature, which happens rather frequently, I am always quick to give credit to the amazing foundation of love that I've been surrounded with my whole life. I've been blessed with an incredible, large, loving clan of a family, and even more blessed with my dear Mom. Her life hasn't been the easiest, yet she has always maintained a loving demeanor and a twinkle in her eye. She is the most dependable presence in my life and she is my template for my own character and habits.

So, I continue the loving tradition of Care Packages. They make me happy to create and give them to others, just as much as I enjoy receiving them. I think they make a profound difference in the world, simply because they denote thoughtful, loving attention towards others given for the joy of making another person smile. We need more of that in this world....Care Packages should be present in every walk of life.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.