Two months to the day after my oldest son left to serve a two-year mission for our church we were missing him a lot. We have four boys, and knowing that each of them would eventually follow in these same footsteps we became melancholy and a little misty when we would think of our boy out there on the other side of the planet (literally). So, one Saturday my husband and I spent the day shopping for the contents of that first all-important package to send. You know, the one that screams out, "Look! I have not been forgotten, even though my room has probably already been turned into a storage closet!"
We picked up an SD card for his camera, a little flash drive, a t-shirt, food, a map of Kenya, medicines he had requested, dental floss, and some other personal items. Many dollars later the package was sent through the USPS because the only other way to get things to Nairobi was by FedEx or DHL which only do overnight $278-dollar deliveries. Sorry, but that wasn't about to happen. So, we trusted that all would be well, even if it took three weeks. He wasn't in a rush and we were fine with the delay.
In our back and forth emails we would ask about the package and sometimes there would be the response, "Not here yet, Mom." Or sometimes even, "Don't worry. It will come." To spare my concern Elder B. would sometimes avoid answering so that I couldn't get angry about it not arriving. Then on Mother's Day, three months after sending it, we were able to talk to him on the phone. "Sorry, Mom, but this is Africa and you can't count on me ever getting it. Things just aren't regulated enough and someone may have hijacked it."
OK, now if I could have been sure that a poor man trying to support his family, or a single mother with babies to feed had gotten a hold of it I really think I would have been fine. But in my mind I kept imagining some corrupt government worker who thought a package from America meant something good was in that box so he took it. I was pretty mad about it for awhile. We had spent around two-hundred hard-earned quid on that package and now it was gone. Ugh.
Yesterday I was home for lunch and right about when I was heading back out to go to work the mail truck pulled up. Up the sidewalk comes the mailman with a box in his hands. As I took it I thought that maybe Elder B had mailed us something, but then I noticed it was from the USPS and was pretty banged up. You guessed it. After and eight-month vacation, my little package came home, a little banged up and dented in, but unopened and fully intact. We had neglected to put a P.O. Box number on the box. It was totally my fault. After laughing about it I felt real remorse. Remorse for months of nursing negative feelings for this far away place. For blaming an unknown person for something that was my own doing.
I offer my sincerest apologies to Kenya, even though I know no one from that part of the world will read this. I needed to throw it out into the universe, and I hope that will be good enough to clear my soul. Weird thing though... I have taken everything out of the box, and the only thing I can think of doing is remailing it with a strange secret wish that some poor father or single mother actually will intercept it.