Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The uncomfortable Christmas present

When I was a youngster, I'm thinking around nine or ten, I ran downstairs on Christmas morning with my siblings, thrilled to see what Santa had brought us.

That year, my aunt had my name, so there were some presents from her under the tree.

In the midst of the present extravaganza, I opened one of these presents from my aunt.

The box under the wrapping was cube shaped. I don't remember exactly what it said, but I remember the sentiment exactly.

The box advertised a "maternity kit." Everything you need to have with you when you go to the hospital to have the baby (or when you bring the baby home, I don't remember). I can't pretend to remember what was advertised as being in the box.

I read that and felt my face flush.

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.

Why in the world did my aunt buy me a maternity kit? I'm 10 years old! I'm not having a baby! I'm not ready to have a baby!

I was horrified. So embarrassed, in fact, that I hid the box under some of my other presents, determined to forget that I ever received it.

My mom, though, didn't miss a trick.

"Hey," she said. "Did you open that present from Lisa?"

I nodded, silent.

"Where is it?" she said. "I want to see it."

I was beside myself. The only thing worse than getting that present at all was to open it in front of my mother and the rest of my family. I shook my head. I think perhaps there was some cajoling on the part of my mother to open it.

Finally, silently, heart hammering, I opened the box.

I reached inside and pulled out my aunt's present.

A beautiful art piece for me to hang up in my room.

And thus I learned not to judge a present by its box.

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