Yesterday, when I picked up Carlos from school, a little boy named Sid came tearing up to me. He leaned in close and whispered, “I bwought a secret present for Carlos. It’s a book.” Then he held his finger to his lips and said, “Don’t tell him!” Sid has twinkling brown eyes, an elfin face, and a brown bowl of a haircut. He seriously could be an elf.
I promised him that I wouldn’t tell.
Their class is doing a Secret Santa book exchange on Friday. As luck has it (or maybe clever teacher planning), Carlos got Sid’s name in the drawing. The only thing I know about Sid, apart from his cuteness and enthusiasm, is that he dressed as Superman for Halloween. How do I remember that? Because Carlos did too and the two of them sat next to each other at the party. Super Duo.
So I bought a couple of Little Golden Books–one about Superman and one about Spiderman. Tonight, after the kids were asleep, I got out the wrapping paper and the tape and the scissors then got to work. The first gift wrapped this year!
When the red bow was tied, I stepped back and felt my heart crack open with gladness. That feeling of knowing that the gift will be appreciated. That the wrapping paper and the big bow will delight a small person. I enjoyed the moment when all the bustle and to-do lists of this season turned into joy at the chance to delight one tiny boy who took such delight in having a surprise for my little boy.
I hope Sid likes his books. The instructions for the Secret Santa swap said to label the present for the kid who will receive it. Didn’t say anything about putting the name of the kid who is giving it. Sid won’t know these books are from Carlos and he certainly won’t need to thank me next time I see him. But I wrote this to thank him. Thank you, Sid, for sharing your secret with me. For sharing your excitement. For giving me the chance to give.
And this whole Secret Santa thing? It’s like having a secret identity. Like Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne.
By day, the kid knows me as Carlos’ Mom. But by night, I am Baddest Mother Ever!