I’ll have a Blue Christmas without you

December 8, 2008 · Filed Under Care Packages, Deployment, Mamaw, Military Parents · 6 Comments 

Well, here we go, having to plan another Holiday without my son being here to join in. I know that I am not the only one who is going/gone through this but you see, he is my oldest and well, this time of year brings a lot of memories flooding back.  When he was born there were a lot of complications and he was in intensive care for 10 days. After that, there were years of hearing tests, eye sight tests, and he grew up just fine with no problems besides the occasional cold and other childhood dilemmas that we all go through.  But I think back to the times when we were so relieved that he was okay.  All of the prayers we prayed, and all of the times we were up all night worrying about him.  And now that he’s not going to be here for me to hug and see in person, well, I’m sending out the prayers every morning and every night and worry just like I did in the beginning.

So, of course, I finished my shopping early because I hate the dreaded malls at this time of year anyway and I had to send over his Christmas Stocking to make sure he got it in time.  In fact, I sent over two, one for him and one with the specific instructions that he was to pass it along to someone who does not receive a lot of mail or goodies.  We also sent over a box of decorations.  I found a small silver tree at the Dollar Store and took it out of it’s box and stuffed it into a box along with ornaments, garland, bows and such.  I figured at the very least he could decorate his bunk and maybe all the guys would get a kick out of the small tree.  We mostly sent over food items that he won’t be able to buy as easily like large bags of sunflower seeds (salt is good for you in the desert heat), and breath mints (enough said about that!) as well as candy canes, etc.   I took mine over on the 2nd and mailed it out to be sure it would get to him in time if not early so that they could enjoy those decorations.
Besides, I had to get it mailed before my Mom got hers sent out.  You see, we have a little competition going on here at home.  It’s not spoken of between us but we both know it’s here, lurking about in the shadows.  My boys are my boys but, well, it’s Grandma and we all know that no matter what Mom cooks/says/does Grandmas always tastes/sounds/seems just a little more special.  That’s why my granddaughters love my cookies and cakes so much, it’s from Mamaw!
Well, at Thanksgiving, when I showed my Mom the two stockings that I had gotten together she looked up from her turkey and stuffing and just sorta studied them, her eyes narrowed, she nodded and I knew the game was on!  She ate quitely and I put the stockings away, it was like a Clint Eastwood movie with the two gunfighters sizing each other up outside of the local saloon.  I knew she couldn’t go shopping on Thanksgiving, ho, ho, so I was at least a day ahead of her.  Little did I know that I would end up being sick over the entire Holiday and my 4 days off with that darned flu which would be to her advantage!  My six shooter was empty and she had extra ammo because her check is automatically deposited on the 1st of every month!  (Let me point out, my mother is very spry and quick thinking, this is a 78 year old woman who volunteers at the local hospital’s ER 3 days a week and the county courthouse because she misses the chaos of having all of her sons and their friends around.)
Well, I knew jig was up, I saw that twinkle in her eyes!  I am not one to shy away from a little friendly competition so dragging myself off to the post office two days later when my fever started to subside, I picked up those free priority mail boxes and hurried home constantly glancing in the rearview mirror of my pickup truck for her little economy car to sneak up on me!  I actually had to repack those boxes about 3 times to fit everything in them but it all fit.  Oh yeah, it all fit in, every nook and crannie was filled up.  I figured I would take them to the post office the next day, her pay day, to mail them off and beat the rush of the 4th and well before the actual final drop dead mailing deadline of the 11th.  I wanted to make sure my son got his packages in time.  I knew she was going to be out shopping so I had to mail them quick!  As luck would have it, I felt awful that morning but I got up and went to work.  Totally forgetting to take the packages with me when I rushed out of the house!  Karma is such a bugger some times!
I got the phone call the next afternoon; “she” had gone to the infamous Dollar Store as well, and, oh my goodness, how did this happen, ended up purchasing THREE stockings and filled them as well!!!  Clint, you sneaky devil…you ain’t got a thing on Grandma!  Of course Grandma didn’t know how that happened, how she ended up with just one more then I did, hmmmm.  Now, how to pack all those goodies and make sure they got to him in time?  Asking me “oh, did you mail yours yet?” in her sweetest Grandma voice.  I got chills on my spine and goosebumps on my arms, the hair stood up on the back of my neck.  Then I smiled, that satisfied, half-cocked Elvis smile.  Oh yeah, I mailed mine already.  I knew the deadline, I knew the perfect post office to take them to with no lines and knew the exact time they would be empty with no waiting.  I didn’t forget them at home this time. I mailed them at lunch on the 2nd, two days before the deadline. Oh yeah, baby, they’re gone.
Tha’s when guilt reared it’s ugly head and wiped that smile right off of my face!  Being the good daughter and loving mother that I am, I let her know that the post office offered free priority mail boxes, told her how to fill out the customs forms and even asked if she needed me to help her pack them.  She knew she had won, I even heard the bell ding-ding on the side of the ring, the round was over.  She had me, she knew it, I could hear it in her voice.  Sigh.  She mailed them out on the 3rd and they should reach their destination in time as well.  The bottom line is, my son and at least a few of his buddies are going to receive those stockings, cards and love that was sent over by us never knowing how close a call was had getting them to the post office on time.  Enjoy fellas!  Wait a minute-the drop dead date is the 11th so that means…….Oh and Valentine’s Day is coming …..