The bow box

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Like so many naive and ever-so-slightly conceited teenage girls growing up in the 2000s, I had a blog.

It was a free WordPress domain with an obscenely long URL and a chronological scroll-through feed, upon which I wrote oddly personal things and then launched them into the void. It has long since fallen into the recesses of the internet, but some of my sappy writing is almost worth revisiting, if you can forgive a little melodrama.

The following was published on the blog in December 2013 as young Lyndsie reveled in the holiday spirit. I know my mom loved it when she read it then, so I wanted to share it with everyone else this year.

Merry Christmas, Mom.

Finding home in a box of bows
December 22, 2013

This post is about a box. An old boot box, previously home to a pair of big brown rubber boots. The box is white, with red and blue bold letters which have faded over years of use. However, the box hasn’t held those boots since the moment they were unwrapped.

This box has developed a new use. It is full to the brim with Christmas bows. Red, green, blue, silver, gold, and my favorite: pearly white. All sizes — some fit for a jewelry box and others prepared to adorn a bike. Some new, yet to have their backs unpeeled and placed upon a gift. Others old, used and reused, yet somehow still blemish free and ready for another Christmas morning appearance.

As I sit cross-legged on my parents’ bed and glance across the spread at this old box, it hits me. This box, it’s always been there, on the floor of the living room on Christmas morning as we all open present after present.

And the bows, they are diligently selected to match the paper, or the gift enclosed. Then, after we are careful to detach the bows, we rip away the paper and toss it aside. When I was younger, I would choose my favorite and stick it to my head, only to look back on pictures and realize I looked ridiculous wearing that bow on my head all day. But for some reason, I never stopped. 

My mom is partial to other bows. 

“Wait,” she’ll say. “Put that one in the box.”

And so we would. We’d toss the favored bow into the boot box and forget about it until the next year. 

“I’ve always liked this bow,” my mom will say when we wrap gifts. “The blue sparkles look good with this paper.”

Why am I so attached to this box, and these bows? I am not sure I can say. It’s just the feeling I get, after I’m done wrapping my sisters’ presents, and I get to pick a bow for each one. Or when my mom likes a particular one, I want to remember it so I can use it on her present the next year. Of course I can never remember which one it was. So I do my best to guess.

Again, this year, the faded white boot box will have its place on the living room floor while we all sit in a circle and take turns opening gifts. Bow after bow will be judged and possibly worn, and most likely tossed back into the box to wait out the next year in anticipation of another Christmas. I think we all have these little, seemingly insignificant things that make our homes and memories ours and ours alone. 

I hope to one day have my own collection of bows, held in my own old boot box. It would be my own little piece of home. My child will proudly hold up the bow that graced their gift and wait for mom to determine its fate.

“I love the pearly white ones,” I’ll say. “Throw that one back in the box.”

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