My five year old, Heather, bounced into the room. “Daddy, I bet you can’t guess who wrapped this.” She was beaming from ear to ear as she held out the misshapen Christmas present. I took it from her and turned it over in my hands. The wrapping paper stuck out all over, giving the item, that seemed to be a rectangle inside, more of the shape of a circular star with a multitude of points.
The paper was twisted and gobbed up in heaps here and there. The little package had more tape on it than wrapping paper. In fact, it was mostly tape. I figure she must have used a full roll of tape, if not more.
“Wow!” I exclaimed. “This couldn’t have been done by you, could it?”
Her grin widened even further as her eyes sparkled like the Christmas lights of the season. “Yes, it was me!”
As I expressed my surprise at her ability to wrap presents at her age, I made a mental note that I had better hide the other rolls of tape or we would end up spending half our Christmas budget getting more. I looked at the name on the package. “Dad” and “Heather” were scrawled on it in crayon, the order of the letters all mixed up and in many different directions.
“Is this present for me?” I asked.
She nodded and her piggy tails whipped around her face. I pulled her into my arms and gave her a big hug as I considered the fact that it would take a chainsaw to cut through all of that tape. I enjoyed a moment with my little girl that was growing big so fast. After we had a happy minute together, I suggested she go to her mother and see if her mother could guess who had wrapped the present.
Through the door of the next room I could see her hand, the present to her mother. Her mother turned the present over carefully in her hand and then, in response to Heather’s query, answered, “It looks like your father’s wrapping job.”
“No!” Heather squealed with delight, “it was me!”
“That’s incredible,” her mother quipped. “You must have inherited his wrapping abilities.”
My wife was only joking of course - at least I think she was. It is a well known fact that I can’t wrap anything. When my children were small they would get me to help them wrap presents for their friends. Now that they are older, they wouldn’t let me near their presents with a piece of anything that looked like wrapping paper, unless, of course, it was a gag gift and they wanted it wrapped such that their friends won’t have a clue as to the shape of the object inside.
I don’t know what it is, but wrapping paper and I don’t get along. My wife makes it look easy. She cuts the paper so it is just the right size, folds it across, and applies a small piece of tape. She then folds up each end, angling in the corners neat and tidy, like tucking in a bed sheet. But me, I lay out the package and try to get the right amount of paper. It always ends up enough to go around it twice or it will be just short of touching paper-to-paper. It goes from bad to worse as I reach for the tape and it attacks me, or rolls into a little ball in self defense. As I try to get the tape unstuck from itself and me unstuck from the tape, the paper flops off of the package. This scenario is repeated multiple times until, in frustration, I simply drag a wad of tape across it and then take some scissors and whack it off.
My little Heather brought her present and put it under the tree. She then came and climbed in my arms and we watched the lights blink on and off together. She may not know how to wrap up a present perfectly yet, but she does know how to wrap up my heart.