There are days when I feel Federal systems and institutions are working smoothly. I'm pleased with the fact that okay--I live in the 21st Century and modern-life is working well.
Yesterday was not one of those days.
We are spending Christmas in Le Havre at my Mother-in-Law's. Well, technically we are in a quaint village just on the Northern border of Le Havre, Sainte Adresse. My mother, who should be a poster-child for Hallmark, sent all her gifts for myself, my husband and our son to my MIL's several weeks ago. My mother buys cards for everyone's birthday, anniversaries and holidays for the whole month, a month in advance. She signs them and gets my step-father to sign them too. She gets them in the envelopes, puts the date on which she needs to mail them in the stamp corner, and then leaves them in the "letter/key" box by the garage door to mail when they're supposed to go.
So, I knew she made an extra effort to get all our Christmas gifts to us at this "new" address.
On December 23 a Postal Carrier left a notice at MIL's that they passed by. My husband and I went to the post office after 11:00 on December 24. The ladies working said there were no packages. The carriers who have the packages stopped by but only dropped off all the lettres recommandées (registered letters). They said, "Check back on Friday after 11am."
Now, I know I'm not the most important person to the French postal system, and how are they supposed to know what's a Christmas gift from a grandmother ("important") and what's just a "regular" package.
But this development was really super frustrating. This was one of those moments where it just was a series of "innocent" events that spiraled into my feeling that our modern world and systems were in a big failure! I know there are more important things in life, and I know my son will not want for gifts...but I also know my mother makes a huge effort to have these gifts arrive EARLY and so I was really disappointed.
Of course, for me, Christmas is not about gifts. It's about sharing time with family. And of course, there is the whole "Jesus is the reason for the season" aspect. I just felt bad for my mother...and so we'll head on over to la poste on Friday and present the presents in Paris (with all the other gifts I'd left for my son "from Santa"!)