It's Christmas day. I'm four, maybe five years old. At the family party, Santa is in attendance. I've received a number of gifts from godparents, relatives.
A dog! That barks and walks! Joy!!
Even though nearly twenty-five Christmases pile atop that one, I can still touch that elation. But I can also finger acute disappointment...anger -- batteries not included.
I must have thrown a fit right then and there, a storm akin to those I navigate with my own children these days, because I can also bring the sting of a scolding to the surface. Shame colored my cheeks when my parents explained my transgression -- I learned a lesson about gratitude that day. But my disappointment was real: the most exciting present, once unwrapped, was missing an essential piece, rendering it incomplete.
My dad always told me I have a "gift" for writing. College professors affirmed my abilities with high marks and praise. Post-college, I published an essay in a magazine, and I've blogged regularly for several years.
But I've never fully unwrapped this gift.
I fear that under the shiny paper of potential, I lack something essential.
True? I yearn to find out.
Come along with me -- in 2010, my project is the unwrapping.