Knock knock knock!
“Mom, Dad, what are you doing? Can I come in?”
“Not right now. We’re wrapping presents,” Roger would say.
Rarely he was being honest. Most times, we weren’t really wrapping presents.
Alone time is uncommon for young parents. When we wanted some privacy, which was a lot to ask of four sons, we said we were wrapping presents. Were we lying to them? Yes, we were. Did we feel bad about it? Nope. I mean, wrapping presents gave them siblings.
This justified fib was especially convenient in the months leading up to Christmas when it made the most sense to wrap presents. This also may be why three of our sons were born in the summer because they would have been conceived around the October/November time frame. Once more babies were born in the summer, we were able to wrap presents in May as well.
We’ve wrapped presents after trick-or-treating, while the turkey was in the oven on Thanksgiving, on our anniversary on December 16th, and of course, after the Marine Corps. Ball. Roger blamed it on the red, sequin dress. I blame it on the dress blues.
Usually we wrapped presents on the bed with the bright yellow floral comforter from Kmart, on the dingy white base housing linoleum atop concrete that was our bedroom floor, and we’ve even wrapped presents in the bathroom before. Now that I think of it, we’ve wrapped presents in the club house on the playset we bought the kids at Sam’s Club with our tax return, and many, many times in our aluminum above-ground pool at our Shamrock house.
I miss wrapping presents with Roger, but with some effort, I choose to be grateful I had those moments with him. It was our time to have our own secrets and make the absolute best of only seeing each other half of every year. It was our time to reconnect and bond. It was our time to wrap presents.