Care Packages

My parents aren’t the type to send care packages. 

Firstly, they wouldn’t know what to include. At home, we don’t really do nonperishable packaged snacks, which are a huge ingredient in most packages. Homemade cookies? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my mom bake. Small impulse buys? We’re generally frugal, so we avoid spending money on “stuff” whenever possible.

Plus, I go to school all the way across the country. Paying $15 to ship a box of random goods is ridiculous. And I knew that. When I left for college, I didn’t expect care packages.

I didn’t know it would bother me, though.

My first roommate constantly received huge boxes from her family. Her mom sent cookies, blondies, whoopie pies (which I didn’t know existed before living with her). Her younger sisters sent drawings and friendship bracelets. If she was sick, a box of cough drops and NyQuil would magically appear. Sometimes her mom would write my name and a nice message for me on the card, as if the gift was for both of us, even though my roommate & I didn’t really talk.

care packageAt holidays, my friends got themed packages. Jewish mothers sent matzoh and kosher goods at Passover. Other friends got advent calendars and candy canes in December. On Valentine’s Day everyone got a care package from their parents with candies and cute cards.

One of my friends saw how frustrated I was seeing people squeal over their parents’ generosity that she made a care package for me. It was such a kind gesture–one I’ll never forget–but it can’t replace getting something from home.

While I didn’t expect anything, my mom saw that the care package issue meant a lot to me. Finally, at the beginning of this year, I received my first care package: Goldfish, my favorite chocolate from Trader Joe’s (which we don’t have in Ithaca), feminism-themed sticky notes, and a “Dammit Doll” for aggressive moments.

It was worth the wait.

This post is part of my April A to Z Challenge. For more All Things College posts, click here 

42 thoughts on “Care Packages

  1. My daughter was lucky. She was only a two-hour ride away from home. So, if we didn’t bring her a care package once in a while, she came home to bring one back… full on things she could just put in her microwave oven at the last minute.

    Excellent post, loved it…


  2. Bless your heart. Now I want to send you a package. My daughter called me last night to say she got the one I sent her for Easter. Little bit of candy, two sets of character-themed socks that she loves and looses all the time. And a gift card so she can buy herself something. I send her two or three per semester.


  3. You’re very right. It’s the home touch we all miss when we don’t have it. For the first part of my freshman year my family lived thirty minutes away so I went home almost every weekend. Then everyone moved away and I couldn’t go see them. That’s when things got tough!


  4. That was so sweet of your roommate’s mom… And your parents. :) I never managed to actually leave the house for college, but I use to know people who would get care packages halfway through a week at summer camp. My parents just ain’t the type.


  5. We didn’t call them care packages, but when I was at boarding school my parents definitely sent food, I don’t remember if there was anything else other than food, but I remember wonderful fruit cakes and what you would call candies. I was around 10 so I don’t know if I got other stuff, probably.


  6. My brother only received one care package while he was in college. Somehow, I think it’s going to be about the same for me… (My mom plans on just showing up in Athens whenever she dang pleases…)


    • I think it’s a distance thing! Each of my parents have been to my college twice (my mom to visit, both to move me in, my dad to move me out) but they can’t just come visit and I can’t just go home whenever. So the packages are important :)


  7. I just got a care-package-like box… Easter candy from the amazing Bavarian Chocolatier back home :) Now my holiday is complete!

    A little something from home can make such a difference.


  8. That’s really sweet. My parents didn’t have to send me a care package, but I received one in my first 6 months in Japan that saved my life (macaroni? How can it not exist here?!)

    Funny story though, my vegetarian friend tried to send me beef jerky and the whole box got ripped open by Japanese customs. They sent an apology note saying “Here’s your care package… but we had to incinerate the jerky.” It made me giggle. :)

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    A-Z Blogging in April Participant


    • Ah yes, they don’t like internationally traveling meat. They took the jamon serrano (like bacon but greasier) that I tried to bring back from Spain.


  9. Haha… Loved this! We don’t really do college care packages in Mexico–many people go to college close to home, but even for those who move away it’s more about sending *Mexican* stuff (mole, chile, spicy candy), which we’d send to any Mexican unlucky enough to be living where these things aren’t available :D


  10. This is a new one on me however if your parents hadn’t sent you something I’d be wanting an address to send you one from here in the UK!
    Uni was a long time ago for me and I don’t recall anything like care packages. What I do remember was that each time Dad took me back to college he’d fill a wooden box full of non-perishables which I’d start on when the money ran out during term.
    The memories are now flowing.. Another memory.. I used to receive ‘care packages’ from one of me neighbours. When I was sick, a bag full of oranges, with some blackcurrant juice would appear in a bag on my front step. I think they were encouraging me to increase my vitamin C intake. It was a lovely gesture and always cheered me up.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ok ok, you guilted me. I’m working on a care package for my son now – a freshman who I have only sent one small package to this whole year (and most of it was socks and underwear he left in the dryer on his last day). No excuses. I’ll just do it. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lovely, Becca! I’ve actually gotten one or two packages before this “care package” that included important things I left behind, but that required begging my parents to send them. It’s not the same as receiving something, knowing someone is thinking of you.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I got my care packages to take home when I visited, they weren’t sent. Except for my advent calendar when my mom did not finish it for me to take home on thanksgiving. I did my undergraduate degree in the UK and was always longing for continental food (from German and France) but well I survived.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: On The #AtoZChallenge | Victim to Charm

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