On another edition of Dear Santa!, we have Amber Roettger. She’s here to share a short story with us titled A New Tradition. She’s a new (to me) author, but I’m so glad to have her on the blog today! Enjoy!
A New Tradition
When Andrea was 12, her brother and father passed away three days before Christmas. The holiday season was never quite the same after that. She and her mother, Sarah, just couldn’t find cheer and happiness in decorating the tree (her father’s favorite part), going around town to see the lights (her brother’s favorite part), or even exchanging gifts.
They still tried, but to Andrea it had always felt like they were going through the motions. Doing what was expected of them. Her favorite part of the holiday season was when it was over, and she knew her mother felt the same relief.
When she turned 19, Andrea had enough. “Mom, what if we went away this year?” she asked one day in early March while they were cooking dinner together.
The experience of losing half their family might have broken them, but she was grateful for how close she was with her mother. Most of her friends were constantly annoyed at their parents. Andrea never let it get to that point.
Sarah shook her head, confused. “What do you mean? We take a trip every year.” True, every June they tried to take a short road trip to somewhere nearby. But Andrea was thinking bigger.
Andrea stopped chopping the onion and turned to look at her mother. Same brown eyes and brown hair as her own, but the resemblance stopped there. “No, I know. But what if we went away for Christmas instead?”
She could see the realization in her mother’s eyes, what she was offering up. No sad Christmas in the house that they couldn’t bear to move out of. No more going through the motions with the rest of the family. “We could do something big, every year. France, Japan, the Maldives…”
Sarah was nodding her head in agreement. And thus began a new tradition. While other people were trying to decide how to fit in two or three, or even four Christmases with the in-laws and extended family, Andrea and her mom were planning their next big vacation to some unknown locale.
The first year, they spent a few days in Hawaii. “I’ve always wanted to go,” Sarah had told her. “Let’s get away from the snow at least once.”
The second year, they spent a week in France. They prepared the whole year practicing French and silly accents to get each other laughing.
Andrea was grateful. It was a fun, playful side to her mom that she had never seen before. And she loved it.
They attempted to learn Japanese for the third vacation, but it proved to be more difficult than they ever imagined. Her mom just shrugged it off. “Well. I’m sure we’ll meet at least one person who speaks English over there. And we can just apologize profusely for being dumb Americans,” Sarah joked with a wink.
It was almost a Christmas miracle, Andrea decided. Something that she hadn’t believed in since she was 11. The new experiences brought the two of them closer together, and her mom seemed more alive than ever before, something she didn’t really think was possible.
After Andrea and Conner married, there was one last trip. Conner understood, he practically pushed her into the airport himself. He knew how important these trips were to the two of them, plus there was an extra special gift that Andrea couldn’t wait to give her mother.
During the take-off, Andrea leaned over to Sarah and whispered, “Mom, I’m pregnant,” into her ear.
Sarah squealed and through her arms around her daughter and started making plans for the next year. “We have to take her to see Santa, oh and get her some of those lovely little dresses.”
Andrea laughed and cut Sarah off. “You’re so certain it will be a girl?”
Sarah smiled and shrugged. “I always imagined you with a little girl who looks exactly like you. Same bright eyes and beautiful smile. Same sense of adventure.” She leaned her head against Andrea’s shoulder and sighed. “These last few years have been great, but I think next Christmas will be the best one yet.”
For more from Amber, check out her book, The Road Home.
All Emily Morris wants is to be happy. She has a great life and a great boyfriend in Chicago, but it all changes when her best friend needs to move back to their hometown of Berlin, Indiana.
While in Berlin, Emily is forced to confront secrets that come out. Discoveries that could change the way she feels about her own past.
As Emily works through this, she has to decide where she will be happiest, with her boyfriend in Chicago…Or back in Berlin with the ones she left behind?
Where to Buy The Road Home
Amber Roettger is an author of New Adult, Young Adult, and Fantasy novels. When not writing, she enjoys hanging out with her dog and her boyfriend, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. Her favorite book ever is The Secret Garden, which she rereads at least once a year.