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The Gift
by Kelly

     The tree stood in the middle of our sparsely furnished living room, shimmering with the few ornaments my mother had collected over the last couple of years.  There were several packages under the tree a couple weeks before the best day of the whole year.  Some were for my brother and my dad,  and there were two presents for me in front.  I remember them sitting in front and likely I put them there.  One of the two for me had a mysterious message on it, "To Kelly, from Mom, you can open this present the morning of Christmas Eve."
     Now, if a parent had the desire to drive their child insane with longing for Christmas Eve morning to arrive, my mother had succeeded.  I was going to get to open a present a day early!
     As always, I knew where every present with my name on it sat beneath the tree, but for some reason, I simply could not wait to discover the contents of that ONE present.  I was totally intrigued.  It was about ten inches tall, three inches wide and very thin, maybe a quarter inch thick.  I held it in my hands every day.  I squeezed, squished, shook, pried, peeped and prodded.  You name it, I had tried it.  I could not figure out what it was.  There was not a sound when you shook it.  It was too small to be clothes.  Barbie was too buxom to possibly be inside this package.
     Now we are talking the Princess of Presents, here.  I could, and still can, figure out gifts remarkably well.  My mom, to this day, still puts a box of macaroni in my gifts, so they make a good noise to disguise any sound that may or may not be heard.  It's not easy to fool the Princess; however, this package had me stumped.
     I nagged my mother constantly to let me open it.  What's the difference whether I open it now, if I get to open it a day before Christmas anyway?  Just let me rip the darn thing open, NOW!  I'm sure she got great pleasure from watching me squirm over that gift.
     Now, you realize, that once Christmas vacation started, the torture was even worse.  I had to look at the tree and the presents all day, every day.  The amount of time I could spend pondering the contents of "THE GIFT" increased.  I'd sit and hold it while I watched TV.  I probably even slept with it.  My brother and I would lie close under the tree every night and talk about the endless possibilities of what we might be receiving.  My mother would look at us from the kitchen, from where the delicious smell of cookies wafted to my nostrils, smile and shake her head.  She knew what was in the brightly wrapped gift.
     Finally, the day arrived.  Christmas Eve was here!  I jumped from my bed when I awoke that crisp, cool morning, grabbed that gift and ran to my mother.  "Please, oh please let me open it now, it's Christmas Eve!"  At last, she agreed.  I climbed into the chair at the dining room table and she watched me rip the paper with one quick movement.  I had a smile on my face when I started to unwrap the gift; however, disappointment washed over me as I realized what she had given me.  It was a size AAA training bra!!  How could she?  I was not ever going to have breasts!  I wanted to die, right then and there.
     "I wanted you to be able to wear it when company came tonight," she told me, "you are a young lady now."
     Wear it!!  Was she out of her mind?
     I was forced to wear that bra that night (See the picture below?  I'm actually wearing it there).  I do recall running to the bathroom and tearing it off after about the first half hour. Talk about uncomfortable!  It was the absolute worst gift I have ever received (and I've received some real doozies).

Note: I had my mother read this and her words were "I sure don't remember this, but I do remember you didn't like the bra."  Get a clue, Mom!  Thank goodness I didn't open that gift in front of anyone.

Kelly and Martin
Christmas 1971

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