so today . . . my eyes fell on the tiny box. temptation loomed. but my past sins quickly flashed before my eyes, and i managed to walk away...
i blame diandra. she is the source of my temptation.
we are having christmas tomorrow. i know the rest of you will be celebrating a week from now, but we always have christmas early, because we always travel "home" for christmas. diandra finished up her shopping and wrapping this afternoon, and tonight she walked into the family room with a tiny box. "this is your christmas present," she said. "don't open it!"
ok, first of all if she hadn't told me it was my christmas present, i probably wouldn't have even noticed it. but the problem is, it is in a tiny, decorative box. this means there is no wrapping paper, or more importantly, no tape, to keep me out! i could easily sneak a peek, and she would never know.
except she knows me.
"mom, really, can i trust you not to peek?" i, of course, assure her she can trust me not to peek. and yet, still she looks at me with eyes that say, "i know your mouth is saying i can trust you, but your eyes are saying 'get out of here right this minute so i can peek in that tiny little box!'"
i assure her again that i will not open the box. i am pretty sure she doesn't believe me, but she sets the box on top of the other presents underneath our invisible christmas tree, and we move on.
i totally forgot about the box. i was trying to book plane tickets to go home. (which always makes me a little sick. because you know, once you book those tickets, you can't change your mind. and there are so many things to consider...) but then, before i went up to bed, i was picking up a few things. and that's when it happened. my eyes fell on the box. and it called to me... "just one little peek. you are going to open me in less than 12 hours anyway. you know you want to..."
while good julie was fighting with evil julie about the box, i remembered another christmas... a long time ago...
i was probably 9 or 10 years old, and i loved presents! i could hardly stand not knowing what was in them. and this particular year, my brother (who was 6 or 7,) had purchased a gift for me with his own money, and he seemed really excited about it. he could hardly wait for me to open it.
this made me extra curious.
while my little brother occasionally made me crazy (someday i will write about the ice skating party incident,) he had a very soft heart. every time we would play the card game 'war,' i would win. because if i started losing, all i had to do was act sad, and he would start stacking the deck in my favor. i, of course, would pretend that i didn't see him doing this. every time there was a war, he would slip me three high cards and then play a 2 or a 3. and he would continue to do this, until i would finally win.
(fine, call me manipulative. i choose to think of it as teaching my little brother compassion and kindness.)
so when he was so excited about the gift he had for me, i knew it was going to be something spectacular. and i just couldn't wait!
i tried. i tried to ignore it. and when that didn't work, i tried shaking it and squeezing it. and when that didn't work, i did the unthinkable...
on christmas eve, after everyone was asleep, i sneaked out to the christmas tree and picked up the package. i examined how it had been wrapped by six year old fingers. i checked to see how much tape he had used. and after carefully inspecting it, i decided i could safely unwrap it and then rewrap it, and no one would know.
and so i did. and no one knew. i looked through the clear plastic lid of the box to see 12 tiny pastel colored soaps shaped like animals. i carefully untaped and opened the lid and took out the tiny soaps (taking careful note of how they had been arranged in the box.) i admired them for a few minutes, then put them back and meticulously rewrapped the gift, and went back to bed.
when christmas morning arrived, i found myself avoiding my brother's gift. he was so excited, but i was afraid. i was afraid that everyone would somehow know that i had peeked and ruined the surprise. finally it was time. i slowly opened the package and feigned surprise. i took the soaps out and smelled them and lined them up, and i am pretty sure no one knew what i had done. but i knew i had cheated my brother out of the joy of seeing my real reaction to his gift. he didn't know it, but i did. and it made a difference. to me.
i don't remember ever peeking at another gift. i am still wildly curious about what is inside all the boxes and bags, and i still pick them up and shake them and squeeze them. but that christmas i learned that sharing in the excitement and anticipation of the giver is what makes the gift significant.
so, although that tiny box is still trying to lure me across the room, i will resist and go to bed. because whatever is in there was chosen by my daughter with love. she wants to see my reaction. and unlike my 6 year old brother, she will know if i have peeked.
especially since i think there is a possibility that she might have booby-trapped it...