I am terrible at giving gifts that must be transported through the mail. When I was little, my Mom had a bit of a mail phobia and I think I picked it up, believing that clearly awful things happen to packages at the post office. She has since overcome this phobia with abandon, but I'm holding onto it because it is so fun to imagine my precious items being stomped upon by the nice folk at the post office who stamp on packages because it is clearly so much more fun to break things than to just mundanely stamp them and put them on a plane or truck. (Or maybe the packages get passed over to the flying monkeys who work in the back and they smash them. Anyway, in my fears, there is clearly a lot of smashing that goes on.) Ultimately, I think this minor phobia is about control. Once you hand that package over, it is SO beyond your control. It is gone forever. I hate not being in control, and I hate giving things up. Combine this with the totally unreasonable post office hours, and you get a repeated and tragic failure to mail stuff.
Some recent examples of this failure: one of my dearest friends in the world had a baby MONTHS ago, and I haven't gotten around to sending a gift. In NOVEMBER of last year, another dear friend sent me the news that she was engaged. I bought her a gift the next day. I chose it specially for her and her guy, and I think they'll love it. And I've been sitting on the package since then. Spousal Unit's mom CRACKED HER PELVIS(!!) and I have had a care package in mind to send her since then, and haven't. SU's sister's birthday was last week and I blew that one too.
If they gave a prize for the loser of all losers on the mailed gift front, it would definitely go to me.
Which makes it even more amazing and wonderful that this week I got three, yes three, packages in the mail carrying gifts to me from people who love me. It was amazing. I was sent a new umbrella (much appreciated in my climate!), new pajamas and robe (also much appreciated in my climate), an antique book for my office, and some amazing photos.
And then today, the mother of all packages arrived.
It came from a longtime friend who I had talked to a bit this summer while she was going through a rough patch. She sent me chocolate (yuuuummmm... chocolate...), a gorgeous necklace that I totally love and will wear tomorrow for my third day of teaching, a coffee mug from one of my favorite feminist bookstores, and a totally cool and hip CD case -- filled with cds. Since everybody has been doing the music memes, I've been feeling totally jealous and WAY burnt out on my own music. Only yesterday I was feeling all sorry for myself and my pitiful music collection and thinking that I would be really embarrassed to share my iPod random list because my music was so uncool. And then, today, in the mail -- a package arrives chock full of amazing cool new music that was special to my friend in some way. I was so touched. It was a wonderfully generous gift.
My heart is overflowing with gratitude.
If you are one of the three who sent packages and are reading this, I promise that more personal thanks are on the way after this crazy first week of teaching is over and done with. But, don't worry. I'll call, not mail.