“What is Care By Air?” - Part Two: It seems trite to mention. But, living away from relatives isn't always easy. Missing out on special events like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries. Even smaller occasions, like kids' science fairs, orchestra concerts, championship games, have us feeling withdrawn from the family. And guilty. Guilty because we realize that moments in time slip away in an instant. Like flashes of lightning. One thing I learned from living apart from my parents is to be more purposeful in scheduling visits and checking in with them, and in sending items through the mail. I'll be honest. I am a sucker for getting cards and packages delivered to me. And, always did enjoy writing letters to my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. It was so fun to write, especially when I mastered the art of cursive writing. Reading those loopy cursive words on a page was inviting. The script so beautiful!
One special cousin, though, didn't share in that love. My family moved from the suburbs of Chicago to Kansas when I was in 3rd grade. I couldn't wait to find fun papers, stickers, pens to use when I'd write Cathy letters. I remember one of my favorite stationery sets was photos of deli meats (unnatural shape and all) and bread slices. It was the coolest EVER. I mean, who doesn't want to write on a piece of bologna? Sometimes, though, the discarded "From the desk of..." pads of paper from my dad or grandpa had to suffice. Alas, letter writing wasn't my cousin's favorite. So, I seldom received anything in return. I'm pretty sure I even included stationery papers and an envelope in one, to give her a little letter-writing "nudge".
I spent my summers back in Chicago with my grandparents and aunts/uncles from the time we moved until I started working summer jobs. So, I had the chance to catch up with her each June. And, it was always like I'd never left. We'd pick up where we left off, without losing a beat. She'd apologize for not writing, saying it just wasn't her "thing". Until a few years later, on a winter day, when my dad sorted through the mail and found an envelope addressed to me. "For me?!" I exclaimed as I grabbed the envelope, inspected the return address, and discovered it was from my cousin, Cathy. I was elated. I hurried back to my room, opened that bad boy up, and voraciously read. I honestly don't remember the meat of the letter. Only that she had explained - about 3/4 of the way into it - that she'd been home sick. With the flu.
I think it was then that I finally realized that letter writing wasn't for everyone. That yearning to correspond and keep in touch with others isn't in everyone's wheelhouse. Or, that it can actually be a dreaded task for some. Like having your toenails ripped out, for others. I still really enjoy writing letters and cards. It happens less and less often, due to the pressing issues and demands of life with kids. But, I always enjoy getting letters and packages from others, with the mailing address written - sometimes in that loopy cursive - to me. Just another impetus for starting Care By Air, Folks. So that your loved ones can enjoy opening something real and personal from you. Even when you're NOT sick with the flu. (I still love you, Cathy! ; )