Monday, December 24, 2012

It's a wrap.


I'm the world's crappiest gift wrapper. No matter how hard I try, the edges are lumpy and fat and the tape is always showing. Surely--this year especially--my children will think that Santa's back-up elves wrapped their gifts. Certainly not the first line ones.

Uuuuh, yeah.

Deanna always told me that it was because I wasn't fully committed to my gifts looking pretty on the outside. And even then, I told her--as I handed her each and every box to wrap for me--that she was absolutely right. But now, as I think back, that wasn't the only reason why I sucked at gift wrapping. A lot of it had to do with the fact that she was just so damn Martha Stewart-good at it that there was no point in me learning.


So gift wrapping. Yeah. Deanna was hands-down our go-to gift wrapper. And the only thing better than her exceptional gift wrapping skills was the fact that she knew she had them and shared them liberally with her less nimble-fingered family members.

That reminds me. Deanna had so many gifts. And I love that she knew it. Like, she knew she was creative and crafty. So she did crafty and creative things and volunteered to help others out using those talents. All the time. She knew that she was good with children and that she was a great teacher. So, without fail, she gave of herself freely to kids. That included my own children and I remain forever grateful for it. I know for certain that she changed their lives and helped shaped them in ways that even we can't see yet.

I think about this part a lot. The gifts part. We used to talk about realizing gifts. She told me that I had a gift for writing and public speaking and that she was glad that I was using those gifts. That's when she expressed what she believed her own gifts were. And I just listened and nodded and agreed.  Then I told her that I think I also have a gift for encouraging others and she said, "And you do this through writing and speaking. I agree."


That's what it was like having Deanna around. These were the kinds of things we'd talk about in between the silly Deanna topics like reality TV train wrecks and lines from blaxploitation movies. Man. I'm so glad we did.

I guess I'm telling you this part in case you haven't thought about your gifts. Maybe you have. But you know? I'm thinking that there is also power in telling another person because it makes you more intentional about using them. You know what I mean? Eh. Maybe this all sounds crazy and rambly.


Today I was wrapping gifts and as I completed one of the packages, I sat back and surveyed my work. I laughed out loud at how extremely shitty it looked. Then, within the same breath, I was crying because I wanted to take a picture of it and text it to Deanna. So, so bad. And then bribe her with heavily spiked egg nog to get over here ASAP to rescue my children from the world's worst wrapping jobs.

Which she would have done for me, no question. With or without the heavily spiked egg nog.

But see? It's okay. Those tears were okay because it was a sun shower like they always are. Two moments later I was laughing at something else she once said to me on the topic. I recalled Christmas 2005 when I put every single gift in those gift bags with tissue paper so that I wouldn't have to wrap anything. Deanna saw all of it under my tree and said--and I quote--"Now that's a damn shame! Gift bags? For everything?"

And then she laughed at me. Totally at me. Because Deanna always kept it real like that. "How trifling is that?" she cackled.

"But don't they look pretty? Look at the tissue paper!" I countered.

"Kids like to rip shit. This is trifling!"

"Trifling? Damn, that's cold, sis."

"Dude. They look like Secret Santa gifts. You'd better be glad Isaiah is only 9 months old. Next year you've got to do better, sis. Remind me to intervene. For real."

Which I most certainly did. And she most certainly did.

Secret Santa gifts? That has me laughing out loud all over again. Whew.

I started to commit myself to learning how to perfectly wrap gifts like her. But then I realized that she got the "crafty gene" and I didn't so there was no point. Besides. Whenever I wrap gifts now and they all look like school lunches instead of gifts, it will make me smile and think of Deanna. Which is a good thing.

I miss my sister today. Intensely, deeply I miss her. Not just because it's Christmas but just because I do. She was wonderful and funny and gifted and selfless. And I miss her.

Damn, I do.

Even still, I remain more glad than sad. Always. Glad that my head and heart are overflowing with warm and wonderful memories of Deanna and that the only thing that I have to be sad about is missing her sometimes.

And nothing else.

JoLai will be here tonight. I will hug my baby sissy and we will both continue wrapping gifts as crappily as we possibly can in memory of our big sister. Then we'll blame it all on the mall Santa Claus.


Happy Christmas Eve.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . 'cause Deanna loved the kids--especially the ones that others often forgot about.


  1. Thank you for sharing your beautiful sun shower. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. I know you miss her. Yet she left so many gifts. I will be thinking of you and sending love to all of you who she so loved. She sounds like the most wonderful soul.

  3. Well, you can't be awesome at everything. I'm glad your baby sister is coming over to help. And glad you shared Deanna's trifling comment with us :)
    Your kids will love what's in the packages, no matter how Martha Stewart they look on the outside. Even when I really try,they just doesn't look like hers, cuz I didn't get that gene either. Sigh.
    Merry Christmas, Dr. Kim.

  4. Merry Christmas Kimberly. I am glad Deanna brought a little sunshine your way today. She will still be there everyday looking over you and the family with a smile.

  5. Love. This.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family Kim! I PROMISE, my gift wrapping skillz are more trifling than yours could ever be. For reals.

    Maria, fellow Meharrian

  6. We did a pretty good job considering... and watching them rip those jokers open? We did enough! LOL!

    Merry Christmas!

  7. Loved reading this Kimberly!!!MSS WILL MISS her at our yearly Christmas outing. Tijuana

  8. I thought about you on my way to the candlelight service at church and said a prayer for the Draper's. I also said on for Maria, my cube neighbor who lost the auntie who raised her, and a prayer of thanksgiving that my friend Cheryl was singing with the angels this year. It reminded me to be in the moment with the people I would see and pour all the love I had out to make them feel loved.

    I obviously didn't know Deanna, but you describe her as a person who encouraged those around her to be their best and worked mightily to help them achieve that. I hope that someday in the vastness of eternity I get the chance to meet her.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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