A Lesson from Legos

The unwelcome sound of paper tearing filled the small bathroom. I was kneeling on the cold tiles, the willing and only witness for my brother, Chris. At almost 6 years of age, his fingers were not patient or gentle enough to ease the tape from the fragile paper unharmed. It was still days before Christmas, so after gazing at the box for long moments, he reluctantly returned it to the blue paper covering. We re-taped the paper as best we could, hoping no one would notice, but both excited for his good fortune.

As for me, I have always enjoyed the surprise factor. Mine, yours, anyone’s. There is a Christmas photo of me perched on a chair, looking over my sister Alex opening a Madame Alexander doll. According to the picture, I am more excited than she is with my mouth open wide in a squeal of delight. It was the same for Chris. To be witness to any joyous surprise, even in secret behind the locked bathroom door, is what I crave.

I distinctly remember shaking a present one year, and instantly knew it contained Legos. Rather than being excited, I experienced a complete sense of disappointment. Trying to guess was part of the game, but I didn’t want to win it.

The impact of that Christmas let-down evolved as I got older. It became a goal to try to ensure that the gifts I gave were not guess-able. I remember feeling absolute glee as a friend, shaking his present, tried hopelessly to guess what it contained. I don’t remember what the present was, but I do know the 3 marbles I added to the box made sure he wouldn’t know either until he got to open it.

Many years ago, I gave my husband, Bob, an Intel 486 upgrade chip for his computer. It seemed so small and insignificant, so I wrapped it in progressively bigger boxes, adding little trinkets for a noise factor. Our daughter, Nikole, was only about 3 at the time, so the joy was exponential, as she giggled right alongside me when Bob opened yet another box to find…a wrapped box.

These memories have nurtured and rewarded me more than the actual gifts that I have given or received, and I owe it in part to an obvious box of Legos.

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