Wednesday, August 24, 2011

From Yia-Yia, With Love

Living near parents can be a fantastic boon. From the occasional free meal, to free babysitting, to a garage full of tools to borrow -- there are so many ways a young family can take advantage of their elders.

As a corollary, living far, far away from parents means we get none of those things, which can make life challenging when the lovely Starr and I don't feel like making dinner (but have no cash), want some free time (but have no cash), or need a new tool (but have no cash -- sensing a theme here?). Despite that, there is one thing we wouldn't get if lived in the same town...

Care Packages!

Now that we no longer live in Georgia, we get care packages from all parental parties -- Georgia and Louisiana. In Georgia, we only got these delightful surprises from our Big Easy sender, Starr's delightfully eccentric mother, whom we call Yia-Yia. Yia-Yia is the most experienced care packager, and the experience shines through every time a bursting-at-the-triple-taped-seams, too-heavy-to-be-true flat rate USPS box lands on our doorstep with a window-rattling thud.

The other parental contingencies will send mostly things bought explicitly for care package stuffing, then call or email to tell us the contents and expected date of arrival. Yia-Yia will buy one thing to send -- an outfit for one of the kids, an interesting non-perishable food she thought we'd like to try, or perhaps a book. The remainder of the box will consist entirely of things Yia-Yia grabs from around her house (and perhaps her office) when putting together the care package. Practically anything is potential care package fodder, from clipped newspaper articles and whole magazines, to nearly-expired jars of seasoning that she never got around to using, to some shoes she's decided she cannot wear anymore (or bought but never wore)...

Some contents of a recent package.

And just once, a half-eaten bag of Honey Nut Cheerios that was discovered by ants while en route.

Pickled Quail Eggs sent for me. I haven't yet had the guts to try them.

That was a nice surprise -- and that's the beauty of a care package from Yia-Yia -- it's always a surprise when one arrives, and we never know what is inside! Will it be some clothes she never wears? The last 3 years of The Week? A jar of mixed nuts she got halfway through before deciding she no longer liked her nuts mixed?

Chocolate reindeer -- a lightly melted Christmastime delicacy. In August.

Now, despite appearing to be a completely stream-of-consciousness style of packing, Yia-Yia does put a lot of thought into each package because she loves us, and knows that we tear open each box in a flurry of anticipation. She wouldn't send an article of clothing that wouldn't look amazing on Starr. She knows we love to read The Week, even though we let our subscription lapse because we just had too many things to read. And I don't mind my nuts all jumbled up -- in fact, I love 'em that way, and Yia-Yia knows it!

Yia-Yia is careful to label everything so we'll know who it is for.

That leads me to our next contest -- guess the contents of Yia-Yia's next care package. We'll take entries beginning now, but because we have no idea when the next package will arrive, we've no clue when we will be able to announce our winners. You only need to guess one item to win.

The prize? An item of our choice from Yia-Yia's next care package! Please send all entries to You'll receive a terse reply informing you that your entry is both stupid and irrelevant, and that Yia-Yia will be sure to NOT send exactly that item in the next care package, just to spite your insightfully disrespectful self.

**Also, please leave a comment letting us know you've sent an email.**

But don't worry, when Yia-Yia gets into full-on care package mode, she gets in such a joyous mood that she forgives and forgets all, so don't be afraid to enter!

We adore you, Yia-Yia, and always look forward to your next box of love!


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