Monday, April 28, 2014

Boxes from Home

When I was a kid, I went away to camp several summers in a row. The camp was only about an hour from home (but it seemed much farther), and I only stayed a week (but it seemed much longer). I loved nearly everything about camp, but one of my very favorite parts of being there was the mail call, and my favorite part of the mail call was the day a package arrived from home. It was usually a smallish cardboard box, carefully wrapped and neatly addressed in my mom's tidy handwriting. Inside were treats of all kinds: Cracker Jack, Lifesavers, Chiclets gum, Smarties, Chuckles gumdrops, little bags of peanuts, packages of crackers with peanut butter, and a cheery note. I loved all the fun snacks, of course, but I also liked knowing someone at home was thinking about me when I was off on my own. When my kids went away to college, I remembered what it felt like to get a box from home when you were off on a big adventure. So a couple of times a semester, I tried to send a package: Trick or Treat boxes at Halloween, all-green boxes for St. Patrick's Day, heart-shaped cookies from the town bakery for Valentine's Day, and study-hard-and-finish-strong boxes at the end of every semester. Well, my last child is in her last semester of college, and I recently mailed off the last end-of-the-semester package. Tucked in among the Stacy's Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips, Pretzel M&M's, Goldfish crackers, Orbit gum, Essie nail polish, and Burt's Bees lip balm were wisps of memories from the last four years, as well as softly shimmering hopes and dreams and good wishes for life after college. I've loved being the mom of college kids, and even though that chapter in our lives is ending, I hope my daughter and both my boys know there will always be someone at home thinking of them when they are off living their own big adventures.