If you don’t have college-age kiddos yet, you might want a heads up that you’ll become a prime target for some clever marketing from your child’s college. So far, we’re two for two in colleges hitting us up to buy outrageously priced care packages at the beginning of the school year. The selling technique goes something like this: “You wouldn’t want your son or daughter to be the only one on the hall missing out when everyone else is receiving care packages, would you?” Strategically sent within the first few weeks of the semester, it’s hard not to say yes. You just sent off a part of your heart, so you might say yes to anything… until you remember tuition has made you too poor.
I said no and made a mental note to send my own care packages throughout the semester. I’m all about sending happy notes and gifts to brighten their days. I just knew I could do it cheaper and I could do it better.
Or so I thought.
When December came around and the pressure of exams was rolling in, so was sickness. Annika called me and she was feeling under the weather. I devised a plan, made my list, and stuffed a box full of items to encourage my girl through her first round of college finals. Tea, honey, apples, peanut butter, Kleenex, Vitamin C supplements, decongestant, and some of her favorite Peanut M&Ms would greet my daughter and surely she would think, “Mom takes such good care of me.”
Instead, I got a polite “Thank you” and very little commentary… until a few weeks later when she confessed that she’d actually run into a friend’s room and exclaimed, “Does that woman even know me????” as she scoured the box, looking for something exciting. I later asked her what she would’ve wanted. Cheezits, Oreos, chocolate-covered pecans, Wheat Thins all made the list. I had to laugh. Sometimes we try so hard.
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes feel like you live on autopilot as you try to solve one problem after another. That’s what we do: we anticipate problems; we solve problems. What I realized was that there’s a time to solve problems, but sometimes the people closest to us need us to be a little less responsible and a little more fun. Admittedly, this isn’t a syndrome that everyone struggles with… but if you find yourself constantly feeling like you have to be the adult in every room, I hope you’ll learn from my little care package experience.
I’m grateful our Heavenly Father doesn’t just give us what we need. He’s a good Father who gives good gifts to His children. He’s kind and loves to bless His children.
The days we have with our children are short. If you have them home, don’t worry about the veggies and the homework quite so much. It will all work out. And if you have sons or daughters in college, take it from me… load up your box with a little more fun.