Tonight it is snowing more than I've ever seen snow . . . snow. My table came today. I finally bought an American table, and it came today. So tonight I set up Santa's workshop and wrapped presents for hours. I worked like a little elf and enjoyed making each fold and carefully placing each piece of tape. I like cutting silky ribbon and bringing it to a bow. I have gift tags that I've saved all year for tonight.
This is what I do: when I'm wrapping a tiny little gift, nothing really, just a thought wrapped up in paper, for Sherri, I think of how she laughs, and when we stacked those phone books all night in front of Lynn's dorm door, and how I ordered four more drinks for us before she returned from the bathroom in Vegas.
When I'm wrapping up a tiny gesture for Joni, I think of how she'll talk with me for six hours and be ready to go six more, and when she used to feed me dinner whenever I'd go over to her house, and how she's cared for me since I was twenty-one.
Folding up a bit of affection for Karen reminds me of how she treated me with respect and kindness from the moment I walked into her office, and when she took me to her favorite place for scones and told me about South Africa, and the first time she said, in her very proper accent, that something sucked.
Wrapping up a little treat, just a small piece of my heart, for my friend Scootch, makes me think of how much he cares for me. I've set this aside for him for months, but it doesn't really matter. He'll accept it with grace, but he's really just waiting for when he can be on the other end. He wants to give, and he's good at it.
I have piles of sweets for my giggly, squirmy, loving, far away Japanese kids. I love buying every candy cane, every pencil, every wind-up toy. I can smell their freshly-washed hair and feel their arms folded around my neck when I divide their surprises into piles. I like carefully writing out the shipping labels and preparing customs forms. I like cheating when I list the price of the items in the package so they won't know or care how much I spent. I like putting pictures of Santa-san and Pooh-san on the boxes, and thinking of all the noises they'll make when they see a box with a label printed in English. They'll know it's from me.
I want to say more, but I will need all the sleep I can get to tackle tomorrow with the snow and all the needy gremlins at work.