I hate secrets. Well, that’s not exactly true. I don’t like surprises. I am fine being surprised so long as I know what it is that I am being surprised with.
I remember as a kid when I found one of my mom’s hiding spots for my Christmas presents. I never told her I found them, because knowing in advance what it was that I was going to unwrap on December 25 was so great.
But then one year I got caught. Not caught peeking at the boxes tucked away under the staircase in the basement (that spot’s still safe), but caught peeking in the back of our Suburban after being told explicitly by my dad not to look back there.
It was early December and my dad picked my up from the bus. The first thing he told me when I got back in the car was not to look in the back.
As soon as he told me not to look, I knew that I would look. I wonder if he knew too.
I had to look. It’s what I do. I am a Christmas present peeker.
And so later that night after getting home, sometime after excusing myself from the supper table and managed to make my way outside without being caught.
I got to the car. Opened the back doors. And pushed away the blanket.
Just as I saw what was underneath I heard the door swing open and my dad rush outside.
DAVID! What are you doing? I told you not too look back there!
I was embarrassed and ashamed. I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to confront my dad (or my mom, who had since joined him outside).
So I ran away from the house up into our barn. Where else could I go? I figured I’d have to spend at least a few weeks in there before my parent’s anger would calm down again.
But I needed to be home by Christmas morning. As long as they didn’t return it, I knew I was going to love my Christmas gift that year.
But looking back I wonder what was lost through my inability to wait.
(1) What did I miss out on? I received the object that was in the back of the Suburban on Christmas morning, but what kind of surprise, joy, and gladness did I NOT receive that was also intended for me?
(2) What did my parents miss out on? How did my impatience affect the time, money, and effort they had spent picking out a gift for me?