You Will NEVER Outgrow Care Packages From Your Parents

Frances Andrews loves herself some good care package, and I will never get tired of receiving random shit from my mom in the mail.
Publish date:
August 6, 2012
frances, care packages, homesick

I don't have to look at the return address to see who it's from. The sweeping cursive of my name written on the front of the package tells me everything I need to know. This thing is from my mom and whatever's inside won't make a lick of sense. I can't wait.

I was one day into a two-week stint at Camp Osito Rancho in Big Bear, California when scrawny 7-year-old me got my very first letter from my mom. She had to have sent it when we were still packing, days before I left. Inside was a brief missive about missing me (for a day?), not talking everyone's head off (too late!) and being good.

Hidden between the three-quarter folds were all manner of contraband: some licorice, pixy stixs, and a few rolled up dollar bills like for coke snorting but I used them to score Pop Rocks. It was amazing.

Since then, Frances' packages have become legend. They're a strange mix between whatever's lying around the house, random craft projects, condoms and "a pair of good black slacks." Every box, no matter the contents looks innocent from the outside.

In college she sent me a ginormous box filled with sex ed pamphlets, dental damns, rubber bands (?), rubber gloves (?) and also loads of Halloween candy. It was March.

A few weeks ago she asked what size T-shirt my boyfriend wore.

"Whhhhhy?" With my mom, you never know when and in what fashion seemingly innocuous information will be used. A T-shirt size sounds innocent enough until a year later when you get 20 "designer" swap meet shirts in the mail that she's dying for you to wear everywhere.

"Just tell me!"


"I'm sending you guys some stuff, okay!"

She always wants it to be a surprise but then can't help asking if I've got anything in the mail every day a week before the package actually arrives. The same routine went down before I got this:

This was her St. Croix box, which included a toy for Miles, a baby Tee (for me?), a XL cut off shirt for my boyfriend that says "STAFF" on the back in bold letters, a Real Estate guide (hint!), a "Camper of the Week" T-shirt, the August issue of "St. Croix This Week" with the page about "the goat hill moonlight hike" dogeared, plus a homemade beaded bracelet with a picture of her glued on.

This is what you get when you're born into the Frances Andrews of the Month club. Membership, my friends, is for life.

I don't know if it's mommy intuition or what, but her packages always come at the right time. I've been bored, cooped up at home for days because it's too hot to walk to my satellite office also known as Starbucks, and restless. Yesterday I cleaned the entire house just to avoid staring at my laptop, hoping the keys would magically work themselves like a player piano. No such luck.

Then Wham-O, after breaking up a day of "nothing much" and "same old same" with a walk for Miles, it's package from my mama time! (Yes, that Peanut Butter, Jelly song is stuck in my head on repeat.)

I'm never too old for reminders from my mom that we go way back. On Christmas, she always always always gifts me a toy. I'm 31 and this year I'm crossing my fingers for one of those new kickass My Little Ponies.

Currently I'm sitting in my too-tight baby tee whilst Miles chews on his new toy, which I know Frances found in a sidewalk bin marked "free stuff," and basking in the knowledge that a very specific someone in St. Croix loves me. Sure, all I got was this lousy T-shirt, but then again what else did I need?