There are no children in the house and around 1am early Christmas morning, my siblings decided to open gifts right then. There are five of us plus Mom, which means buying lots of gifts and spending lots of money and ain’t nobody got time/loot for that. So we pick names and everybody buys one sibling one cool gift.
My baby sister, age 21, picked me. I wasn’t enthusiastic about this, especially because the rumor in the house was that she’d bought me a pair of black leather pants, something I don’t have much desire to wear or have practical use for.
All my siblings opened their gifts ahead of me because we open gifts one at a time, from youngest to oldest, so everybody can watch and oooooh and aaaaah. When it got to me, everybody was staring HARD.
I pulled the pants out of the box silently. These had to be the dingiest, oldest-looking pair of black leather pants you’ve ever seen. Something like what Prince would wear back in the 1980s, only not in purple. Did I mention they were bell bottoms?
Next, I noticed the size; two sizes too big. “Why’d you buy ’em so big?” I asked with a giggle.
My sister shrugged.
I made light of it: “Don’t worry, I can get ’em taken in.” I was trying to be gracious.
Then I didn’t see a tag. I thought maybe she got them from a consignment shop or something, so I asked about that too.
My sister, straight-faced as ever said, “Oh, I got ’em out of one of the closets downstairs. They’re Mom’s.”
My siblings, who have been standing on the other side of the table waiting for this moment, erupt into laughter. So do I. Mom, meanwhile, is standing next to me with her mouth open. To her, these are her good pants and she doesn’t understand why my sister would do any of this. Mom starts insisting that the pants are cool, stylish and she can still fit in them. (None of these things are true.)
This is one of those moments when I wish we’d have had a video camera set up. There I am, standing there holding these ugly pants — my mama’s pants that my sister stole — while Mom stands there fussing. My siblings, of course, are laughing their asses off. I’m talking snot-running, eyes-tearing, bent over themselves hollering.
Just then, my sister says, “Rakia, keep looking in the box.” I hadn’t noticed that there was wrapping tissue at the bottom of the box covering something else. I pulled it back and there was a tiny jewelry box, my REAL gift. The black leather pants had been a gag. I pull the small box out and now Mom starts laughing, too. “That was a good one!” she says. Everybody agrees. The kitchen at that moment is shaking with laughter. I can’t do the moment justice here, but it was hilarity AT ITS FINEST.
My sister stands there, satisfied, and says simply, “Open it.”
I crack the tiny box open slowly and there they are: the prettiest pair of earrings that you ever did see. They have my birthstone, the same creamy opal pink that’s the stone in the ring my boyfriend got me for my birthday this year. She made sure everything matched. Only God knows how long it took her to save up for the earrings. She’s a college senior, perpetually broke. I cried, naturally. There aren’t photos of that either. We were all laughing too hard.
When I went to bed last night, I was still giggling to myself. It’s nice to know that although there aren’t little kids in our house, my family can still have exciting Christmas mornings.