If you have read either of my blogs for very long at all, you are aware that we have a son who lives in China. Blake is in the 4th year of a four-year commitment there, and in June of 2010 will be coming home on a year-long furlough. If you know me at all, you know that this mother’s heart is praying that a “year” will turn into more than that, but I know that is between Blake and the good Lord. My heart accepted that years ago, when Blake chose to follow where he was led. There are no words to tell how proud I am of this youngest son of mine, but oh my gosh, I do miss him – and at no time more than the holidays.
On Monday, I will make the trip down to the post office to mail Blake’s Christmas gifts. It usually takes 2 -3 weeks for a package to get the approximately 7300 miles it has to travel from Cobb, GA to Chongqing, China, and I have cut it close this year. It usually costs about $150 to mail Blake’s gifts, which is usually more than the actual gifts are worth. Blake fusses every year when the packages arrive, and he sees the postage on them. He says, “Just wait until I’m home in the summer!” No way that’s happening – if you’re a mom, you understand that.
Christmas, as such, is not celebrated in China. They acknowledge the season, and all the commercialism involved, but nothing is mentioned there about our Lord’s birth. On Christmas Day, which falls on a Friday this year, Blake will teach his classes at the university just as he does any other Friday. Nothing closes. It’s just another day.
As I was packing the boxes, my mind was fast-forwarding to next year, when good Lord willing, Blake will be home at Christmas for the first time in four years. As I put each item into the boxes, I thought about how next Christmas, each package will be beautifully wrapped and sit under the tree with the rest of the family’s gifts. Gifts going to China are not wrapped. No pretty paper, no ribbon. I place the gifts into plain boxes and tape them shut with mailing tape. That’s the rule. I know before those boxes ever reach Blake’s hands, they will be opened after they get to China, and each item will be checked against the customs form that must accompany each box. On that form, I have to list everything in the box, so essentially all Blake has to do is read the form on the outside (by the time it reaches him, only one copy will be left), and there will be no mystery about its contents. He promised me, after the first year, he would tear off the form and throw it away without reading it.
One of the three boxes we will mail will be nothing but junk food – and most of that will be chocolate in some form. Blake has always had a sweet tooth, and even though he says he can get pop tarts in China, they just don’t taste the same as the Kellogg’s brand. I’m putting in three boxes of Little Debbie’s Fudge Rounds – his personal favorite since he was a little boy. He tells me he is on a perpetual chocolate “high” for a month after every Christmas.
So Blake – your boxes are in the mail. Oh, I forgot, Blake won’t be reading this. Blogs aren’t allowed in China. I get around that by cutting and pasting each one into an email and sending them as “Mom’s Musings”. There’s always more than one way to get something done! But, this is one post that he won’t be getting as an email. He’ll just have to wait until Christmas to find out what’s in the boxes – providing he really does tear up that customs form!
NOTE: For pictures of all the snow that fell on Mackinac Island this weekend, you can go to http://bree1972.wordpress.com.