I did not CC my mother because well... she has a tendency to overreact. If I told her that I was having a rough time juggling my schedule out here her response would be, "Okay, well I'll find a job at your hospital and move in and will cook all your dinners."
Not kidding. When I was wigging out depression style last year she looked into a traveling nurse program. Never mind that I can count on one hand the number of times she prepared a home cooked meal growing up and never mind that there aren't enough fingers in America to tally the number of screaming matches we got into; when she gets an idea in her head, any idea... you'd better just brace yourself folks.
The morning after I e-mailed my dad I received an e-mail from her that read something along the lines of:
"Your father indicated to me at 7:10pm last evening that you were having a stressful time at school."
Part of me expected the next sentence to be, "I will be leaving in an hour with the mini-van, find a parking garage in the city for me," but none of me ever expected what actually happened next.
A few days later I received a call from her asking if I'd received my package. The people in charge of our mail here aren't the uh... most efficient or shall we say, invested, in their post and often don't give out package slips until days and days after its arrived, so I said, "No, not yet, I'll probably get it by next Monday or so."
To which she replied, "NOOOOO. YOU NEED THAT NOW. FED EX SAID THEY DELIVERED IT. I CALLED THEM UNTIL THEY DELIVERED IT. THEY DELIVERED IT. GO CHECK TO SEE WHERE IT'S AT, BECAUSE THEY DID, THEY DELIVERED IT."
Alright. So I go downstairs. Lo and behold there IS a package slip in my mailbox.
I snatch it up and start walking to the desk. As I approach the two attendants start snickering and ask if I'm Pants.
I affirm and get an uneasy feeling in my stomach.
I begin picturing a therapy pet waiting for me behind the counter or perhaps a life sized cut-out of Elvis Presley just beyond the doorway. My imagination is further fueled when the attendant says, "You might want to go get a cart for this."
A cart? For my package? Ohhhhh boy.
I say, "Really? Why uh... what is it?"
They exchange a look with each other and direct my attention to the huge, hulking box behind them that says "Washington Apples" on all sides. As I look closer it says, "Lose Weight The Natural Way, Treat Yourself to Three Apples a Day!"
"That's uh... that's my package?"
"YEAH. What's in that thing?"
"I... have no idea..."
"You gonna sign for it?"
"Yeah... yeah I am... it's...from my mother..."
"Your mother sent you thirty pounds of apples?"
"IT'S THIRTY POUNDS?"
"Yeah. Says right here on the slip: thirty pounds. And the box says 'apples' so..."
"Oh my God."
"Better get the cart."
I lug the thing up to my apartment (no cart... I opt instead to minimize the time spent publicly with a thirty pound box that's ostensibly filled with apples) and look closer at the return label.
It's not from Washington (apple people or otherwise), but nor is it from my mother. I recognize the address as the local grocery store in my hometown. My hometown that is 500 miles away. Okaayy... sometimes that grocery store sends bouquets long distance... maybe my mother sent me cheer up flowers?
Thirty... pounds... of cheer up flowers?
I open the box.
It is brimming with red and green confetti.
Pushing the confetti aside I see something peeking out... something that looks familiar... it's definitely a bouquet, but not the kind I was thinking of...
It's straight-up, naked, unwrapped, full of red and green confetti, broccoli.
My mother sent me broccoli.
Digging deeper I find a veritable cornucopia. A horn of plenty, if you will. In a box. A thirty pound box.
We've got green beans, we've got asparagus, we've got five, yes FIVE, bell peppers... even deeper in the box is a very darling picnic basket (just what you need for a winter in Manhattan...), as well as trail bologna, smoked cheese, crackers, granola, nuts, apples, oranges, bananas, pears... and interspersed amongst all of this are grapes. Just loose, free grapes. Off the stem. Not wrapped. Just grapes strewn about as if they too were confetti.
Oh, and lest I forget, there were also two melons at the bottom of the picnic basket.
I can't make this stuff up.
There were TWO... MELONS... at the bottom of the picnic basket.
My mother sent me the produce section. Thirty pounds worth of the produce section. In a box. That traveled 500 miles.
I called to thank her and she regaled me with how she TOLD the people at the store that this was EXACTLY what I needed and that even though they looked at her funny when she made them go to the fresh foods department and hand select items for this package, she KNEW it's what I needed because what we need during times of stress are things that remind us of home. Things we grew up on and well, she just wasn't sure if there were fruits and vegetables in the city. (We'll save sharing her notions of New York for another day.)
So. Moral of the story, it really did make my week better.
I mean c'mon. How can I complain? Here I am with a kitchen full of week-old, overripe Midwestern uh, goodies, and?
A love for my zany, unpredictable mother that is decidedly non-perishable.