Sometime I imagine that I will wake up in the morning and magically be the sort of person who can wrap presents beautifully. I will keep a clean desk, I will keep a clean house. I will be able to wear clothes that fasten with ties without looking like I just escaped from being tied to a stake. I will speak softly and prudently and above all calmly, I won’t ever have to look back with chagrin at having run off at the mouth, I won’t rush into things without thinking or get spacy while trying to get things done. I will wrap beautiful presents.
None of this has happened yet. In a recent conversation with my mother we joked about the frequency with which I fall, and she took great pleasure in regaling me with stories from my toddler-hood of my life on the border of reckless and fearless (I remember the time you charged into the water in Rhode Island and the wave knocked you over, I remember the time you took a flying leap onto the sled and the sled didn’t move and you slammed your face into the snow…she takes a bit more joy in these stories than is seemly). That’s where I have always lived my life, on the edges of good taste and good sense, hoping that there is enough room for me to spaz out and not hit anything.
Discipline and control have always been my biggest challenges, and when the reserved and soft-spoken tell me they admire how I express myself, I tell them how I admire them, able to be calm, able to be quiet. I have to work hard at neatness of all kinds – in my house, in my communication, in my appearance, and in my demeanor.
I imagine I will wake up in the morning and all this will be easier. Instead, I wake up every morning with sheets all over the floor, leave my pajamas somewhere in the path between the bed and shower, drip water all over the bathroom, empty the coffee pot and don’t rinse it, slop cream cheese on a bagel while poppy seeds fly all over the kitchen, and leave my dishes in the sink for later. But I realized today that I wake up nearly every morning genuinely excited to take on the day , ready to take flying leap onto the sled or sprint into the crashing waves (or, as I did in another one of my mother’s favorite anecdotes, run into the first day of tumbling class shouting “Come on new friends, let’s go!”).
I imagine I will wake up in the morning and be able to wrap beautiful presents. Until that day, I won’t stop giving my big sloppy gifts. If I give in a warm and loving spirit, I trust that everyone will ignore the disheveled exterior to see that inside, there’s something they’re really going to like.