When my son went off to college, I didn’t really think about the effect it would have on my social life. Turns out, it had a pretty huge effect. Our son’s activities in high school had put him in a close-knit group of guys whose parents all attended events together, and with whom we socialized regularly. Once the guys went off to college, we were suddenly party-less!
One of the moms had a great idea for a get-together. She invited us all to her house to assemble care packages for our boys. There were eleven women attending, so she asked us to think of something our boys would like to get, and bring eleven of them. She would supply the boxes, along with wine and appetizers.
When we arrived, we shared wine and appetizers while catching up with each other. We had a blast hearing the stories about each of the boys at school–and there were some good ones! Then we set to work packing the boxes. It was fun to see what each mom had brought. Care package ideas included: energy bars, snacks, microwave meals, drink mixes, toiletries, socks, room freshener, highlighters and school supplies. We then filled a sheet of stationery with messages from each of us, and made eleven copies to enclose in the boxes. The next day we brought them all to the post office.
Was the party a success? I can speak for the moms when I say we all had a wonderful time. It was especially fun packing the boxes and imagining the boys’ faces when they opened them. As for the boys, my son was surprised and very appreciative. He said his favorite thing in the box was the argyle socks. That was a surprise to me!
My son left for college at the end of August and left a big hole in our family. I don’t miss his messy room or dirty socks, but I do miss our conversations and being in touch with what’s going on in his daily life.
He doesn’t seem to miss me much, if the number of times he’s contacted us is any indication. I know he’s having a great time and is busy with new experiences. Like all moms, I want him to be happy and make friends, but to know that if he’s sad or lonely or just having a bad day, we are still here for him.
I have decided to send him a care package. I will fill it with lots of his favorite snacks, the sandals he left under his bed, a new set of earbuds for his iPod, a throw pillow for his dorm room, a pound of coffee, and a gift card for his favorite takeout restaurant. Then I’ll top it off with a little note on my custom stationery (made just for this purpose) that says “packed with love” on the front.
He won’t expect it. He doesn’t need it. But he will like it, I’m pretty sure. Just picturing the smile on his face makes me feel better already.
One of our team members shared a wonderful idea for the perfect holiday gift. Her family flies a long distance, at considerable expense, to spend the holidays with their extended family. She wanted her kids to bring gifts for the family members they visited, but felt the need to scale back because they were spending so much on travel. Her solution? For Christmas this year, her children are giving a handwritten note on personalized note cards to each family member that expresses how meaningful they are to them. The kids will read their notes aloud to each person when they get together to share gifts.
We love the idea of this gift, because it truly comes from the heart, far more thoughtful than anything they could buy in a store. The kids are learning many valuable lessons, not the least of which is how to express their feelings, and the lucky recipients will undoubtedly be touched. Get out the tissues. These handwritten expressions of love will be treasured for years to come.