• jtbelangela

Soldiers, Sons & Potato Chips

I’ve failed as a mother. It’s true. After twenty years of parenting, I guess my stellar track record is shattered. How, you may be wondering, did I become such a poor excuse for a mother? I can’t mail potato chips.

Allow me to explain. Every year Trader Joe’s sells “Thanksgiving” Potato Chips--basically regular potato chips sprinkled with “Thanksgiving-y” spices like sage, thyme and parsley. Don’t ask me if they’re good because I don’t like regular potato chips, much less ones with holiday seasoning. My son, however, loves them and looks forward to them every year. This is where my failure comes in.

This Thanksgiving my soldier son will be spending his holiday on base, and I’m having a hard time with it. I thought that sending him a big box filled with his favorite chips (and lots of love) would make things so much better for both of us. If only it was that simple.

I bought a number of bags of chips and an assortment of mailing supplies. This is when things went downhill. No matter how much bubble wrap, tape or filler I wrapped around those bags of chips, they didn’t pass the drop test. I envisioned the bumpy journey those chips would embark on, and was pretty convinced that by the time the box arrived, my son would be the recipient of sage and thyme-flavored dust.

I began thinking of all the motherhood challenges I’d faced (and conquered) over the years, but yet I couldn’t come up with a solution for this one. I was devastated. Those bags of chips sat in my dining room and every time I walked by them, they mocked me. I felt like a failure. Then my phone rang.

My son called to share about his week and his recent accomplishments, and as he spoke, all my frustration with the current situation melted away. Later that night, I looked at the situation with new eyes. Yes, there was no way I was getting those chips across so many miles, but I guess it wasn’t the end of the world. This mother may not be able to successfully ship potato chips, but I raised a wonderful son who gives my life joy and purpose each and every day. It doesn’t matter what I fill his cardboard care packages with because I’ve already put the most important stuff inside of him that created one incredible kid. Perhaps I’m not so terrible at this motherhood thing after all.

Thanksgiving blessings one and all.

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