Christmas Wishes

It’s day two of the Christmas Books in July event! And today, I’m sharing a short story that I published in a magazine a few years ago, probably close to ten, I think. Anyway, this was the first Christmas story I’ve written.

Christmas Wishes cover

The pictures on the mantel mocked Misty as she sat drinking a cup of hot cocoa.  They were once such a happy family, and as she remembered those cherished moments, Misty wished for a stronger drink.

The holidays were always torture for Misty.  She was supposed to enjoy this time of year, but she couldn’t.  All of her family was gone.  Her son was a CEO, so he moved far away from home.  Kevin never called her or involved her in his life.  It had been five years since she spoke to or saw him.  Her daughter, Keri, married and moved away ten years ago.  Keri kept in touch with her but could never find time to visit.  Misty didn’t know if she would get to see her kids or grandkids this Christmas.

The pain would be easier to deal with if Cameron hadn’t left.  Misty had no one anymore.  She took a drink, debating on adding a little alcohol to the cocoa.  She knew, though, that it wasn’t the answer.  The tears began to fall again.

Misty didn’t think that she could bear another holiday alone.  Thanksgiving had been awful.  Now, Christmas was worse.  All she wanted was to see her family, and here she was, sitting at home alone on Christmas Eve.

Misty found it pointless to decorate.  There was no tree, lights, or a jolly fat man staring back at her.  She had no desire to spend her time looking at the decorations, wishing for her family to be together again.  The decorations would only remind her of the happy times which in turn would sadden her.  Yet, those thoughts came rushing in.

Misty remembered how Cameron and Kevin would spend most of Christmas Eve morning finding the perfect tree.  Keri and Misty would busy themselves in the kitchen, baking cookies for the men and Santa.  They would also begin to prepare the Christmas Eve dinner.  Their home smelt of cookies and cedar, a smell that she missed.

At night, the family would sit by the fire, and Cameron would read the Christmas story and The Night Before Christmas.  The kids had a cookie in one hand and a hot cup of peppermint cocoa sitting beside them.  After the Christmas stories, the kids would set out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa Claus.  Then, they would all hang their stockings over the fireplace.  The family had kept that tradition until the kids moved out.  Misty remembered this all too well, and she wanted her grandkids to experience the same Christmas traditions.

But most of all, he wished Cameron was still her husband. He had divorced her one and a half years ago, and the wound was still deep.  They say time heals all wounds, but Misty couldn’t disagree more.  It still hurt that he just up and left her one morning.  Cameron had only told her that he was leaving.  No explanation why, he just left.  He now had a new family, and all Misty could think was that his new family was experiencing the same traditions that hers did at one time.

It wasn’t fair.  Why was she being punished?  Hadn’t she lived her life as close to perfect as possible?  Why was God doing this?  But she knew it wasn’t God’s fault.

Misty couldn’t see the reason, and she didn’t look for it.  All she knew was that her family had fallen apart, and Misty wanted it back.  That, however, was impossible.  Her family would never be the same again.  That was something she had to learn to deal with.

Only God had the capability to help her through this, so Misty began to pray.

“Lord, I need Your help through this.  Christmas was always a joyous time, and now I’m having a difficult time coping.  I know Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus and all the other things we associate with it.  I know it’s about us celebrating the birth of Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I thank You for that, too, but Lord, please help me deal with the pain of not having my family with me.  I need You, Lord.  I need them.”

Her prayer trailed off with that final plea on her lips.

Misty raised her head high, and she felt a peace envelope her.  She set her cup on the coffee table and relaxed.  For once, Misty’s mind was at rest.

Ten minutes later, her doorbell rang.  Misty made her way to the door, thinking it was only Christmas carolers at the door.  No one else would be coming to her house that night, not even Santa.  To her surprise, there stood Keri, Keri’s husband Mike, and their two kids surrounded by luggage.  Kevin was walking up the sidewalk carrying his suitcase.

Tears came into Misty’s eyes as she said a silent thank you to God.  Her grandkids hugged her.  A smile spread across her whole face, and she was gleaming.

“Hi, Mom,” Keri said hugging her.

“Hey,” was all she could mutter as she gave her daughter a hug.

She stepped aside and let her family enter.  Kevin stopped her, and she took him in her arms, memories of him as a child and wanting his mommy, wrapping his arms around her legs popped into her memory.

She let go and followed him inside.  Keri and her family had taken a seat by then.  Misty asked, “To what do I owe this pleasure?”

“We wanted to see you, Mom,” Keri said, “We missed you and thought that this was the best time to come down.”

“You couldn’t have visited at a better time,” Misty said.

***

Don’t forget to stop by and check out the amazing books we have on sale this week during our Christmas Books in July event. Also, we’re partying on Facebook this week and celebrating all things Christmas. Don’t forget to join us there as well.

 

 

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Christmas Books in July Event

Christmas Books in July banner

Welcome to the Christmas Books in July event!

The weather is hot, and we’re all hoping and wishing for some cooler weather soon. But while we’re waiting for that cooler weather,  six of us authors have come together to celebrate Christmas in July with books, stories, games, and more!

Click on this link to see the 99¢ Christmas e-books on sale!

And while you’re at it, we have a fun event on Facebook. Get to know the authors of our books and blog posts better. Pop in with Christmas questions, book questions, and more!
Join us today!

Today, we’re starting off Christmas Books in July with a short story from Author Kathleen Gemmell.

(This was originally published by ParentCo.)

***

A Porcupine for Christmas

He walked three steps on that festive Christmas.

Having just turned one, I was quite convinced that my son was talented beyond compare in his age bracket. Jay was a tow head, trim, and sported a contagious grin. On that day, he wore red corduroy overalls and a green turtleneck. I was over the moon in love with my little guy.

We were visiting one set of grandparents on Christmas Eve and the other on the big day itself. In keeping with the theme that Jay was without compare, both sets of grand-folks had overdone the gift giving. Large trees in both homes were piled with gifts beneath.

Of course, our Jack Russell Terrier, Devon, was part of our family and she too, seemed to sense the frivolity in the air. “Devon” had been Jay’s first word and we chalked that up to his brilliant persona. After greeting their grand-dog, my parents overwhelmed little Jay with kisses and cuddles and treats galore. Jay’s reactions were a bit off putting to these proud elders. After all, what child isn’t enamored over the Christmas bounty?

A one-year-old child is clueless to the merriment of Christmas. As gift after gift was set before him, my parents were puzzled as to his lack of enthusiasm.

“Mom, Dad, he is only just past infancy. He doesn’t yet ‘get’ this holiday fare. Please don’t be upset. Once home, I’m sure he’ll enjoy all the bobbles and bangles. I will say, however, that a bicycle is rather premature.”

Jay seemed to focus on the sparkling tinsel on the 10-foot tree and would crawl over and pluck handfuls off. Devon was soon covered in silver and ran about trying to rid her couture.

“This is not going like I anticipated,” whined my mother. “Jay isn’t enjoying his gifts and Devon never misbehaves. I told your father that this Christmas would not be a Norman Rockwell painting. Would he listen? No. A bicycle, honestly!”

Mom poured herself a cocktail…one of the few she drank each year. I knew that after two Vodka Sours, my mom would be loopy. yet care free. Her disappointment would likely pass.

My father was an outgoing, loving soul. I never heard that one person disliked him.

“Alice,” he cooed.” This will be a fine day. We must all relax, enjoy each other’s company and remember the meaning of Christmas.”

The tinsel covered living room was quite the mess for a mother who was chided to be OCD-ish. Devon, free from her burden, had curled up on the tree skirt and we all tried our best to follow her calm demeanor. Jay, now covered in the silver folly, began to be irritable and I put him in his port-a-crib and soothed him to sleep.

Liqueurs were served and I had a moment of jealously as breast feeding kept me from joining the others. A fine meal was served while Jay and Devon slept on and the familial mood brightened. We told stories of Christmas pasts and we absolutely had to get mom’s goat with the retelling of the mouse and cat episode…

That year, my parent’s home had a mouse “Issue.” Their beautiful home “could not” be infested according to mom. One exterminator after another assured her that the “Issue” was resolved.  Phoebe, their beloved cat knew better and chased a loner up the heavily ornament laden tree.

The tree tipped and before anyone could right it, that tree was through the glass of the picture window. I’m embarrassed to say that my uncontrollable laughter further crazed mom, but honestly, is was perfectly perfect.

Jay awoke as Devon hoped into his crib to check on him. After a changed diaper and a feeding, the Christmas Eve hour was growing late. We all settled in, having donned new sweaters and slippers. The snow fell and the conversation was peaceful. Sweet Jay began to scoot about the myriad of toys and came upon three overlooked gifts.

“Goodness,” stated dad. “We forgot Devon’s gifts.”

Jay was well into tearing the wrapping off and Devon sidled up to him as she could smell her goodies. Dog treats, a large rawhide bone and a rubber porcupine that squeaked when squeezed were Santa’s bounty.

Jay was enamored with the squeaky porcupine. Amidst a mountain of gifts, Jay had found the present he loved. Of course, the irritating noise was tolerated and Devon seemed not to care as she gnawed her bone.

Using the couch, he pulled himself upright with one hand, clutching his treasure in the other. Jay turned to me, a huge smile on his rosy-cheeked face and he walked those first steps.

“Well,” concluded my father, “If this isn’t the best Christmas yet…”

Jay slept with his beloved keepsake and focused on it the next day as we journeyed on to another mound of gifts from Ol’ Saint Nick.

“Mr. Porcupine” is now in Jay’s keepsake box of treasures.

After all, only a wonderfully precocious child would choose the perfect gift.

***

Thank you for joining us! Don’t forget to keep coming by the blog, Facebook, and site for more Christmas fun! Just click the links above.