One day last week I stood in the post office, with my parcels wrapped at last, the night before. I knew that it was too late to hope that they would get to England for Christmas but I also knew that I had done my best to do, one by one, the many things that are labour intensive but which mean "Christmas" to me.
I didn't stress over them, and left the accomplishing of them in God's hands, but I did keep going until they were done.
I don't do baking any more. I learned long ago that no one eats as much of it as I do, especially the left overs. I don't kid myself anymore that I'm doing it for others! Besides, baking flows to this house like iron filings to a magnet, and my cupboards overflow right now with other people's yummy baking.
Sending a parcel to my brother, a little surprise for him, was on my list of important things to do though. The contents were an odd assortment of items. Here is what was in it. There was a packet of six rawhide "bagels" for Bruce, my brother's dog. They were in different meaty flavours and different colours, too, which is ridiculous really because dogs are supposed to be colour blind. But we all know who the colours are for, and it obviously worked because I bought them!
There were 5 chocolate letters, imported to Canada from Holland, and now going to England. These much traveled letters were, "R" for Rob, "T" for Tim, "J" for John, "C" for Claire; John's partner; and "J" for her little girl Jayda, whom John adores.
Lastly, there was a fat envelope full of photographs.
One of my projects this past fall, not yet complete, was emptying my photo albums into boxes designed to hold photos. My albums took up too much space, and were packed away in bankers boxes anyway. In the photo boxes I will be able to easily access any year's photos, up until the mid 2000's, when I started taking digital photographs.
As I went through the albums I found many photos that Mum had sent to me of Rob's boys when little, and of Rob and Jayne. There were also photos that were doubles of ones I had already, of Rob's first dog, Boss, who was such a character and very much loved, and of Mum and Dad. There was quite a collection and I thought of sending them, but didn't get around to it. The Christmas parcel was the perfect opportunity.
The post office clerk weighed the parcel and I braced myself for the astronomical price--it was very heavy. She told me two prices--for surface mail and air mail. It took me a only a split second to opt for air mail thinking that you just can't put a price on some things. It made me happy to think of the doggie bagels, chocolate letters and photos being on their way to Rob as fast as possible.
This morning the phone rang and it was Rob calling to tell me the parcel had arrived!
And he went on to tell me how much it all meant, especially the photos, some for deeply personal reasons. He said how he had gone through them all, describing them to me as he did, Dad's big hands on Tim; seeing Mum; and Boss. He said they brought a tear to his eyes...I could imagine it so perfectly.
I wanted to know if Bruce had enjoyed a bagel yet and Rob said he hadn't had one yet, because he had been sick the day before due to eating too much! He said he wanted him to have an empty stomach before he gave him anything more, so he had put them away in the storage cupboard.
"But he knows they are in there Belinda," he said, "Every time I come out of there he has to check my hands!"
I've discovered that there is no such thing as an unselfish gift because you get so much more back for every one you give.
A few pieces of rawhide and a few of chocolate, with some old photos thrown in--equal two happy siblings and one happy dog.