Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Stunted Package Wrapping Skills

Jake asked me this morning, as we were getting his breakfast- bagelwithcreamcheesetoasted, a single word in this house- what happens if I do touch the Chihuly?

You don’t want to know, I said.


No, you really don’t want to know.

I have to go pick up the boys soon. I have been running around all day, moving lamps and art around- never furniture. That’s Allan’s job, I know it and do not cross over the line. Well… I did move one small table.

I wrapped a few presents.

Weezie? The next time you send me packages to wrap? I’m charging you.

If she knew how horrible they end up looking- partly due to the kiddy scissors I’m using because mine are who knows where, and partly due to the fact that my present wrapping skills were clearly stunted at the age of three by a mother who could wrap the most exquisite packages. I mean, perfect corners. Never a tiny bit of overlap and beautiful hand made bows.


I found out before my sister’s wedding where she learned. My great aunts were watching me in horror as I wrapped my sister’s present.

What are you doing? Ginsie, the more forward of the two, asked.

Child, that’s not anyway to wrap a gift, Ruth, the kinder, said. Here, let me show you…

The gift looked great and I had found yet another generation of relatives to wrap gifts for me.

My mother tried to teach me. Over and over. This process ended up with the gifts I was giving wrapped but I was no further along in the package-wrapping department. Over the years, my mother tried many things, sending me instant bows; ones you could pull apart and you’d have a glorious, floppy bow?

Not me. It looked pulled apart. Nothing more.

Why someone trusts me to wrap gifts is beyond me. Can I? No. I really can’t. I love buying gifts at places where they wrap them for you. I’ll wait.

Things are moving, shifting, melding together in my house. The old and the new. I find it hard to sit very long with boxes to be unpacked.

I’m great at unwrapping, unpacking. I have unpacked an entire house in three days. This is different. I suddenly have… decorative touches.

I have no idea what to do with decorative touches but knew, as I went through my mother’s house, this was my chance to have something for Walter when he was setting up the mantle. Finishing a room where Allan had moved the furniture.

Don't you have anything else? He asks, in desperation.

Uh... no. I hate junk. Clutter.

You have to collect something, he finally said in desperation. How about something to do with writing? Victorian ink wells?

Ew. Messy. No.

Something, find something. Anything.

No, Weezie, it's not Isabel Bloom statues. I think you have to be from Iowa to like those.

I'm thinking but in the meantime, I cheated. I took stuff from my mother's house. Tasteful, simple touches. No clutter.

I am her daughter.

The messy packages starting to accumulate under the tree?

Okay, maybe not entirely her daughter.

PS. Marg? I did pretty well today. Kept the raw off the blog. For a day. I will take some time to absorb it all. The words flying last night were intense. Tomorrow is soon enough. And I really did wrap presents today.


Anonymous toni espey said...

I've kept my mouth shut the whole time you've been going through your drama of finding yourself. But that doesn't give you the right to insult my mother. You said for her not to send your kids a present without wrapping because it's too much of a bother to you and that her Isabel Blooms are ugly. I take offense to that and want you to grow up. Not everything is about you. Maybe it makes you feel better to insult others, but keep my mother's name out of it.
Be thankful that she loves your kids and thinks enough of you to send you something that she loves and stop insulting people who still care about you.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

No, you misunderstood. I can't believe she lets me wrap things- I'm not very good at it. in fact, very poor at it.

It's not about being a bother.

I have never insulted your mother. Ever. EVER. and I never would.

Not a bother. I was making fun of myself. My own skills.

You're mad at me about your sister. Let's be straight about that.

Nope, not everything is about me. I simply write about what goes on daily. Don't read the blog if you don't want to know.

But don't ever say I insulted your mom. I would never do that.

Do you know what I'm thankful for?

Is it an insult to speak my truth?

Should I simply shut up, stuff it in, and never say a word?

Be a good girl?

Your mom wants me to write a book.

At least she understands.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous toni said...

Like you, am I not allowed to interpret what I read? Sounds like a lot of your friends are afraid to add to your blog and tell you what they really think.

What I read was that you insulted my mom.

I am not mad at you for your relationship with Jeani. She is my sister and your spouse. You can do whatever you want to your marriage, but don't go putting my mom into one of your reasons to be mad at the world.

Just because you think something is the truth, it doesn't give you the right to hurt someone in your writing.
And believe it or not, people have insulted other people without even realizing they did. I'm sure you don't appreciate what I'm writing right now either.

Most of all, don't go thinking you know what my mom wants and doesn't want. I've been her daughter quite a bit longer than you've known her. Yes, I took your last sentence as an insult.

Your comment about telling me not to read your blog is just funny. Is the blog out there for others to give their opinions, or just there for you to write what you want without having anyone write back with a little criticism?

I do still care about you Sara, because you are part of this family. Just take a little more responsibility in your writing especially with those who are closest to you.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

See previous post on “Responsibility.”

My name is on every post.

It was never my intention to insult your mother. Never have I put her “in a reason to get mad at the world.” To read that in a post making fun of my own wrapping skills is not only a stretch, it is a stunning feat of contortionism. But yes, you have the right to read it that way.

You can also read it as a secret code to bring the mother ship into orbit so we can all beam up.

You can write all the criticism you want- please do. It means you are engaged. As a writer, engaging your audience means success.

I find that most people send me emails via the link at the bottom of each entry. A lot have complained that posting a comment is ‘too difficult’ I am in the process of creating a separate webpage so it is easier to make comments. I’m not sure how it ‘sounds like people are afraid’ to tell me what they think.

Do you think if I were properly chastised, I would stop? And stop what? Making fun of myself?

Truth in writing is a topic I will tackle today, in depth. The emails I’ve received, from people I don’t even know, saying thank you for giving words to my feelings, thank you for describing my experience and making me feel like I’m not alone? It’s why I write.

Engaged audience.

Thank you.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

and one last thing? '

Not once did I say her Isabel Blooms are ugly. Those are YOUR words.

I said I didn't want to collect them.

I also told Walter I didn't want to collect Victorian ink wells.

8:20 AM  
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5:43 PM  

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