Friday, March 06, 2009
Unboxing My Care Package
DrC flew into Zihuatanejo with exactly 98.9 pounds of gear in two enormous duffel bags. The precision with which we can tell you the weight is due to the parsimony of the airline industry. At 100 pounds, you start paying an unbelievable surcharge to ship your crap with you. DrC was enormously relieved to see results when he dropped the bags on the scale in Seattle. However, I think we'll all have to agree that he cut it pretty close. Even one more package of Pecorino Romano, and the whole thing would have cost us a fortune.
The kids and DrC treated the arrival of these bags as tantamount to Christmas morning. In fact, given our rather tame offerings from Santa this year, the arrival of our Seattle care packages was a considerably greater, more chaotic, and wonder-filled moment. In addition to the aforementioned cheese – critical to our happiness and survival as a family – there were dinghy wheels and books from the Seattle public library, solar deck lights and oil filters, packages for other boats, new sheet music for our guitar players, candy for mommy, and nearly 30 pounds of books donated and gifted by friends and family.
And there was a big plastic box from my Mommy.
Background is useful here. My Mom is “That Mom” – the kind that make other moms look like pikes. My Mom sent me mail at camp. In fact, I was the only kid at camp who would get mail on the first day I arrived because My Mom remembered to send the letter a week before I left home. I would get a letter every day. By the middle of the week, letters were insufficient so My Mom would send stuff. Cool stuff. Small but really really cool stuff like little chocolates, new stationary, the 1970's equivalent of gel pens and Hello Kitty stuff. A clean pair of panties.
My Mom also took very seriously the notion that everything that goes to camp should have your name on it. She would carefully print my name on literally every item of gear and piece of clothing. Literally. One year I distinctly remember that every individual Q-tip and the toothpaste cap had my initials in tiny black block letters. Now lest you think she is some odd, anal retentive bookkeeper (which I guess she sort of is), I want to be very clear. My Mom did this because My Mom loves me. And every time I stuck a Q-tip with my initials in my ear to scoop out a gallon of lake water, I knew I was loved.
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be mentioned that I am in no way as cool as My Mom. I entirely forgot to send a single letter to any of my children the last time they went to camp. I even forgot to send email – which is nothing short of blindingly stupid given that I live on a laptop.
So here I am a middle aged mother of three floating on a boat on the Mexican Riviera with a large translucent box full of stuff from My Mom. Just looking at the box gives me warm fuzzies. I didn't open it immediately. When it arrived, you'll remember, I was doped to the gills on muscle relaxants because of my completely gimped back. I waited. I put that package on the shelf in my cabin, and I looked at it every day. But I didn't open it until my back was on the mend, and I'd gone at least 24 hours without any semi-narcotic medicinal drugs.
Today is the day.
As I open the box, I am greeted by a wave of vanilla. Tucked into corners are small, vanilla tea candles. We don't burn these any more; Instead, we put them in the sun in the windows. As the wax melts, they fill the salon and cabins with a pleasant, sugar cookie smell. Before continuing, I must pull out several copy machine prints of her recent appliqués. I believe she was working on both of these when last she visited on the boat. My Mom is appliquéing and quilting up a storm right now. It's her latest hobby.
Okay, there's a sheet of labels. The labels have spice names! And the box is full of little translucent plastic jars with rubberized lids. Woot! I get to move my spices from their current mini-baggies in a big zip lock bag into nice neat little jars I can line up on the sill. Leave it to Mom to remember the labels. Of course, I don't have saffron or mustard. Maybe I need to go shopping. I think she's trying to tell me something.
To get to all this, I also had to pull out... okay, you're not going to believe this... six pairs of clean panties.
My Mom is still That Mom. And My Mommy loves me.