Patience, apparently, is a virtue.

…and unfortunately, something I suck at.

I’m not a patient person, in fact I’m everything but patient. I’m a right here, right now, type of person and it’s gotten me into a lot of trouble. I’m fairly certain that after the age of ten all of my Christmas presents were hidden at various friends of the family places because I was so impatient that I would search for all my presents.

One Christmas I specifically remember going on a hunt with my younger brother, Nick. I don’t think he was much older than five which would have made me eight, going on nine. The “going-on” was so important as a kid.  I told him we had to find the presents that mom had bought us. The previous year she had hid her presents in the closet of her bedroom, so naturally that was the first place I went to investigate. I brought my little brother with me as we carefully crept into my parents bedroom and then, like bandits, we slid down the wall towards the closet that was next to the bed. I opened the closet, turned on the light, pulled my little brother inside with me and shut the door. As children both of us were teeny little things, so after determining that there were no presents on the ground level, I decided to hoist him onto my shoulders so he could check the top shelves. That didn’t work well. At all. I wasn’t strong enough and I ended up shoving him face first into the wall. He started screaming and crying – was I concerned for his well being? No. I was concerned we were going to be busted for being in Mom and Dad’s closet looking for the Christmas presents.

I finally calmed him down and we decided to look elsewhere for the presents. Looking back I realized that Mom was too short to put anything on the top shelf, so why I decided to put my little brothers head through a wall just to check the top shelf makes me laugh. We moved onto our next spot. Downstairs in our old house we had all of my great-grandmothers furniture that was given to us when she passed. Her name was Grace, the woman who I am named after, and her furniture was full of hidden drawers and key-required doors. Perfect for hiding Christmas presents. Naturally, the dresser cabinet that had the key sticking out of it was too high for either Nick or myself to reach. Seeing as the shoulder escapade had failed miserably, we decided that I would get down on my hands and knees and he would climb on top, stand on my back, and open the door to the dresser with the old brass key. So, I squatted down as he clambered his way up onto my back, stood up, reached the key, turned it and the doors swung open happily inviting us to the treasure inside. There they were, shining and beckoning, like pirates booty, for us to relish in. We had found it.

Nick started pulling down presents one by one. None of them were wrapped because Mom didn’t think we’d be able to find them this year. Little did she know that Nick and I made a great team and finding presents became our mission. Once he had taken almost everything out, we tossed them on the neighboring bed and climbed up on-top to look at our treasure. We didn’t know what Santa would be bringing us, be we knew what Mom and Dad would be! We were very careful to not open any of the gifts, we knew only to look at them, because we made sure that we weren’t busted with damaged packaging to toys. This year, though, there were two really weird bottles: one with a dinosaur and the other with a Barbie Head on it. We popped off the heads and there were little white caps underneath. Neither of us knew what the hell this was. Did it occur to the only child who could read to look at the bottle? Of course not. So we unscrewed the caps and smelt it. Mine smelled wonderful! It smelled like strawberries! Something that smells good should be edible, right? So I took a big gulp and immediately turned green. It was not edible. It turned out to be bubble bath.

Both my brother and I freaked out because I had drank bubble bath and felt like I was going to vomit all over the place. We threw – literally – threw all of the presents from the bed back into the top of the dresser and then just shut the door. It wasn’t a door you had to re-lock, it merely latched on its own, and we ran upstairs. My stomach was turning and I felt nauseated. Right when I thought I was going to spew all over the place the swelling knot in my stomach pushed its way through my throat and I burped, a very loud burp, followed by a giant bubble forming around my lips. I thought I was going to die. I was burping bubbles. At eight years old, that’s the equivalent of impending death.

I had to tell on myself. The fear of death overcame the fear of being labeled as a naughty Christmas-present finder – but then it hit me. Santa was going to bust me for this so bad and I didn’t want to be on the naught list! I didn’t want coal! I wanted my roller-blades that I had asked for!  So I hid in my bedroom all day, watching TV with my little brother and burping bubbles until it was dinner time. I was elated when I woke up the next morning and I wasn’t dead.

I didn’t get in trouble because my mom never found out, or if she did, she didn’t tell me. She knew, she had to of, but maybe she just wanted to laugh to herself. She’s like that. Christmas day arrived and Santa brought me all kinds of presents, roller-blades included. However, Mom wrapped the Barbie-Bubble-Bath-Of-Death with a little tag that said “To: Samantha, From: Santa.” This was how I learned that there was no Santa. It was a gut wrenching feeling, much like the bubble bath felt in my stomach the day I swallowed it. My inability to be patient and just wait for Christmas essentially ruined Christmas. I remember sitting there, staring at the Barbie-Bubble-Bath-Of-Death, holding the little tag and getting exceedingly angry. Santa wasn’t real!? I didn’t tell my mom about my burping bubbles because I didn’t want the fat man mad at me and I thought I wouldn’t get presents?!

I started looking at all of the “To: Samantha, From: Santa” presents and realized that all of the handwriting was the same. My mom’s. I decided I couldn’t ruin my little brother. I didn’t tell him. I decided to not ruin his happiness of fictional characters because of my bitterness. I let him, sit there, happily tearing through presents going, “MOM! LOOK WHAT SANTA GOT ME?!” and she’d happily smile and say, “That’s awesome, Buddy!”

…I let my Dad ruin the surprise of fictional Holiday Characters two Easters Later.



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