The beauty of the unknown

We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up. Sometimes my mom couldn’t afford a Christmas tree or presents for us three kids. And sometimes she managed just enough financial wiggle room to put some clothes, games or toys on layaway.

As she paid off those items over the year, she would wrap them up in Christmas paper right away – even if it was still July – and hide them away at the top of the little closet in our dining room. She probably didn’t realize it, but in doing so, she was torturing me.

Being the oldest and tallest sibling, I could look up there (standing on my tippy toes) and see glimpses of gifts. And should I dare to stand on a chair, with a bit of effort I could reach them. Despite the guilt I felt, I have to admit that I very carefully opened and repackaged a number of presents over the years.

As good of a little girl as I usually was, I couldn’t stand the discomfort of not knowing what was coming my way at Christmas. At the...


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