Earlier in the week, I received a rather succinct email from my son: “Can you please send me a care package of snacks?” No, “How are you” or “I miss you” or any of that such nonsense. My son reached out to me, if for no other reason he’d know I’d help him.
I read the email and laughed. Typical. It’s what a kid would do. So I scrounged up a box, drove over to Phipps, said hello to all of my friends who still worked there and happened to be around. Headed over to the snacks section and loaded up my cart. I had to consider the weight of all of this bounty, since I couldn’t exactly drive it over to his place. Still, the generous mother inside of me wanted to choose a healthy balance of trail mix and Oreos. And Kind Bars, too. Plus gummy worms. And a few other things.
I packed it all creatively, since the box I had seemed to be a lot smaller than the quantity of goods I needed to shove in it. No matter how hard I tried, Annie’s White Cheese Crackers didn’t make the cut (not a tragedy, I’ll eat them). Protein bars fit nicely into small crevasses between the Biscoff cooks (his favorite) and the flattened Phipps Trail Mix. Then, with help from my sister, we pushed the sides together and taped the package shut. I carefully wrote out his address on the label and headed to the post office. Luckily, I noticed, as I started the car, that I left his name off.
You see, my son is serving in the Navy, in the Seventh Fleet, and he’s halfway around the world. I wrote the name of his ship (which is a name) but not his. So I headed back into the house, wrote his name out on a piece of paper, taped it to the box and drove over to the post office. $19.40 later, his box of snacks embarked on its own journey to meet him someplace where I will never go.
How quickly the years go by, and how quickly my son became a man. There isn’t a moment I’m not proud of him. He left my house barely a high-school graduate. Now he’s drinking beer. When we talk, our conversations aren’t about kid things, but adult topics. It’s a little disconcerting, but refreshing, too.
I wonder how much all of this has to do with my influence. It seems that no matter what you say, when the kid’s growing up, he doesn’t listen, acts sullen, mouths off. I remember there were times I wanted to drop him off on some unsuspecting person’s porch, ring the doorbell and run (“Free Teenager! Comes with huge appetite, a myriad of sullen moods and creative vocabulary!). Or how he’d eat the refrigerator bare and there wasn’t anything for lunch. But then he grows up and turns into this wonderful human being.
It’s been almost two years since I’ve seen my son, but there isn’t a day that goes by without me wondering what he’s up to. I almost miss him stripping my cupboards bare, or leaving his absolutely reeking sneakers in the house.
But somewhere along the line, I must’ve done something right. After all, he’s my son. He’s doing something wonderful for a living. And I love him to pieces in a way that only a mother can.
Happy Mother’s Day!