Monday, March 22, 2010

Care packages

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. 


  1. Beautiful story Dawn & it's wonderful to give back to others. There is a simple way to send your love to our troops...write a letter. Here's a link that can help you:

    Imagine what it's like to be away from everything you know for an extended period of time. Send some love today to "Any Soldier".



  2. Dawn, I love this story. I love giving and what a great way to show you care to someone that could use some "love."

    Thanks for sharing!


  3. Very loving post. I have a non existent relationship with my mother; treasure yours!

  4. Hi Dawn, I love this post. I have mentioned this post in my blog bless you and your family x

  5. You make a gopher tear up not just because the words and story are beautiful and timely but because they are more than words and a story, they are YOU, they are your DNA. Next time you see your Mom, look her straight in her twinkling eyes and say "this one is from the world" and give her a big hug.

  6. Bill, I appreciate you posting the link to write to our troops. I'm familiar with that one and have been writing to several people via that link for the past 8 years or so. It's great to have it posted here for others to see, so thank you for that!

    Terri, thank you for visiting and leaving such a positive comment! I'm glad others are enjoying this post - Care Packages are just a universal concept!

    Molly, I do treasure my relationship with my Mom and am very aware of how lucky I am. I'm not blessed in the same regard with a father figure, but things balance out for the best in that regard. What I do have w/ my Mom is beautiful and I celebrate it daily!

    AngelGuided, thank you so much for the re-post mention on your blog! That gave me the biggest smile and I hope it spreads the word about sending Care Packages to our people in the U.S. Armed Forces.

    Beth, I'm seeing my Mom a bit later in the week, so I'll give her a big Bethie/World hug! I haven't told her yet that I wrote this particular blog, as I'm sure it will embarrass her - she's not one to sing her own praises. I just do it for her! I smiled at your words that this post is a glimpse of my inner self, my DNA...I must agree w/ you on that!

    Thank you all, my friends, for visiting today!

    ~ Dawn

  7. Beautiful story and site!!! I will be back often and sending care packages as well!!! It broke my heart hearing that some do not get mail, etc. Thanks for sharing the link too.

  8. Coreen, thank you for visiting! I'm so glad this post is encouraging people to send Care Packages to our Armed Forces. I like to think each of us can make a small difference in the world, and this is one of the things I choose to do to accomplish that. I'm off to visit your site in return and look forward to getting to know you better via blogging.

    ~ Dawn

  9. Hi Dawn,

    This is the first time I have visited your blog. I saw this blog on care packages on writers rising and come across here to have a look at your blog. It was just so timely as I was in the middle of printing out a poem to send to my son along with a magazine article I thought he might enjoy reading. It is amazing what these little notes and things that I mail to friends and family do for their spirit. And I believe in turn it then moves on to other people through the ripple effect. The person blessed and moved by the care package that they have received then gives to others - even if it is with just a simple smile that they give to another throughout their day. Thanks for reminding me of why I do this. I will be following your blog. Thanks again.


  10. I just had one of those ah HA! moments - so that's where Dawn gets her wonderful sweetness! No, not the only place, but certainly a great example.

    Such a & wonderful story. Your mom sounds like such a sweetheart. I think that you are very lucky to have her, and at the same time, she is very lucky to have a wonderful daughter like you.

    Also, thank you for providing the link for the soldiers, it really is sad to know that many don't get regular mail. I think I will have to add my own little 2 cents of sunshine.

    And you are right, Dawn, care packages aren't always corporeal. And many times the giver doesn't even realize the gift they are giving to the recipient. But that too, is one of the beauties of care packages.

    As a many time recipient of your care packages (in the form of your writing, your comments, and more), my wish is that you receive tenfold what you give to each of us.


  11. Hi Wendy, great to meet you! I'll look your blog up (prob later this evening) in return - I love how blogging connects us with like minded people. I'm happy this blog article clicked for you; that's another wonderful part of writing for blog just never know when your words and thoughts will touch someone. My thoughts and prayers are w/ you and your son - every little bit of positive, loving thought makes a difference, I feel. I'm glad to meet another person who embraces the practice of Care Packages!

    Bernadine, you just always make me smile with your comments. Yes, I'm blessed w/ my wonderful Mom and it makes me SO happy to know that others notice/recognize/comment upon the ways her own loving Spirit, caring heart and sense of humor continue on w/ each of her kids. She's just a cool person, but I guess I've already made that clear!

    I am thrilled you'll make good use of that website link! I'm also not surprised that you immediately decided to act upon that need for spreading sunshine to our troops - how lucky the people will be who receive a Bernadine Care Package! I bet they'll feel fizzies for days!

    Finally, dear one, thank you for the loving words and wishes for positive energy to be visited back to me. Of course, I give Care Packages for the joy of it, so I guess the return of energy is just one of those beautiful serendipitous side benefits.


    ~ Dawn

  12. I always come along a bit late. After all the hubbub has died down.

    First of all, loved this! The thought of Care Packages, whether in actual box or in a hug, resonated in my heart. I can relate to this in so many ways with my own mother.

    Secondly, please share this post with your mom if you haven't already. I know you have told her many times how she has influenced your life, but seeing them packaged in this nice blog post will be something she will cherish!

    Thirdly, Although an email, facebook, or twitter Care Package is thoughtful and nice, there is something SO special about receiving an actual package, a card, a handwritten letter. It just makes me so happy!

    Fourthly, You really need to get the little widget that allows me to share this post on Twitter. :D

    Fifthly, Don't you just love how I'm all abbabble and talkative at 2:00 AM Thursday morning? Oh, and don't forget how I am incredibly lazy so instead of trying to formulate each of these thoughts in coherent organized paragraphs, I went and did the Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly... thing.
    Sorry about that!


  13. Dawn
    i love the story and especially the way to show that how much you care of others

  14. Marty, sixthly, I love you, plain & simple. Go ahead and do the "aw shucks" toe in the sand, manly man thing. You don't have to say it back because we "get" one another that way, so no worries!

    In answer to your fourthly point, I DO have the widget that allows you to share posts on Twitter - it's right up top, right sidebar, just below the AB button! It says "Share It" and has both FB & Twitter options to click on.

    I have my Mom set up w/ email subscription to my blog, so she gets each post in her Inbox. She doesn't check email that often, though, so I'll probably have to nudge her to read this one, and then she'll be all flustered that I wrote and posted this in a public forum. She doesn't think she's as special as she obviously is, and will be taken aback that I wrote this. That's actually one of the reasons I did it - I want the world to know what a special person she is.

    As for your firstly, secondly thing, I loved that too. You & I are so alike in the 2am mad rush of inspiration and activity thing, so of course your thought process was inevitably going to make me smile, then laugh, then feel a virtual Marty hug. (I know, you don't do hugs, but those comments were a Marty hug - I know one when I feel it!)

    Thank you, dear friend, for visiting. I owe you several comments on your own blog posts. I appreciate every comment that every reader leaves, but there are those special few that touch my heart more deeply. You know you're one of them. So, seventhly, thank you for your unique, Marty kind of comments!

    ~ Dawn

  15. Traveling Rants, what a great name you have! That just irresistibly lures me to investigate your blog after I finish writing this comment. I'm glad you took a moment to visit and read this post; Care Packages do seem to be another common chord for all of us, and that quiet, indefinable way we have of showing others that we care. Thank you for visiting!

    ~ Dawn