The presents are arriving. I cannot tell from their exteriors if they are for the wedding or Christmas, so I’m just assuming everything is a wedding gift and we’re putting them aside to open after the wedding.

It’s been eighty degrees around here lately, and the weather combined with all the upcoming festivities, it sort of feels like Christmas has been cancelled this year. I’m okay with that; I couldn’t possibly afford both events in one week.

I find it very comforting to have these unopened presents in the house. I like the anticipation of presents to come, things to open, letters and cards to read. Christmas is a big deal in my mother’s house. Every present must be opened slowly, with pictures taken and batteries inserted if needed. Once my sister and I started giving each other rap CD’s, however, Mom got a little more lenient on how much we had to “enjoy” the gift before the next one could be opened. There was nothing more heartbreaking to Mom than the moment Christmas was “over,” when the last piece of discarded wrapping paper was shoved into a trash bag. I’ve inherited that feeling from her. Now I love the waiting for presents, the knowledge that there’s more fun ahead, there’s still more to do and see. It’s not over. I almost didn’t get my engagement ring because I begged stee to hold off on another birthday present. I wanted my birthday night to go on until the morning. If he hadn’t been too nervous to wait even another minute (and if there wasn’t a party waiting for me downstairs), who knows when we would have gotten engaged. This is the house that celebrates a Birthday Week. Our wedding has grown to include most of a weekend. Our honeymoon has crawled into an extra couple of days. We don’t want the fun to end.

So the Fed Ex and UPS guys might be sick of me, but every day there’s another box I can’t open for weeks makes me giddy. I’m already sad that in a few days the wedding will be over. I still want to slow down the next few weeks to make everything last longer — all the friends and family, the ceremony, the dancing, the hugs and tears. I’m glad it’s approaching so quickly, but I don’t want it to be over just yet. Every arriving present reminds me that the day is getting closer.

But the presents mean something a little different this year. It’s not the usual “Santa’s coming!” this time. It’s not Christmas Day I’m waiting on, to see what I’ll get or how Mom will like her new purse. This time I’m not waiting for just the next morning until the final gift’s unwrapped and the turkey’s just about ready to carve. This time I’m waiting on my future, and I couldn’t be more excited.