Life is full of firsts – first step, first day of school, first car, first job. But there is something magical in a couple’s first Christmas, a first Christmas as a family. Ours was 1988. We were engaged Christmas of 1987, married June 1988, and had our first Christmas as a family in December 1988. My daughter Jennifer was 7 years old.
We so wanted to make it special for our new, blended family, so we found Disneyland’s Main Street playset at Sears. It was enormous and one of Jen’s favorite spots in the world.
Okay, looking back, we should have left it in the box and worked on it with her as a family, but we were young and excited. So we decided to put it together on Christmas Eve after she was asleep and surprise her with it in the morning. Big mistake!!
It took hours to put the buildings together, glue stuff to the big plywood base, and set it all up. We finally finished about 4:00 AM. You parents out there can guess what happened next…Jen work up at 6:00 AM, excited to see her presents and open them. LOL
We were exhausted and dragged butt all day, but it was a magical Christmas, our first as a new family. A child’s excitement for the season makes it all worthwhile. Let’s all take a little of that childish glee and absorb it this holiday season. Enjoy each magical moment and make some memories with your loved ones.
My story Waking Up for Christmas in our boxed set Christmas at the Inn on Main Street is all about the magical wishes for the joy of Christmas. With the help of a cheerful innkeeper and her young grandson, Nick, Chase will find our if wishes do come true.
He would have spent the past weeks eating hospital cafeteria food and fast food on the go if not for Mrs. Macgregor and her home cooking. He stepped into the empty dining room as Mrs. Macgregor’s grandson Nick came out of the kitchen with platters of food.
The young man had a permanent smile on his freckle-covered face, as if sadness was unknown for Nick Macgregor. He had the bright-red hair to go along with those freckles, as well. “Just in time, Mr. Thanos. Get it while it’s hot.”
“I’ve told you, you can call me Chase.”
“No, sir. Nana would take me out to the woodshed,” he said, his smile growing wider to let him know Nick was kidding. “If we had a woodshed.”
Chase looked around the room. “Where is everyone?”
Nick rubbed his chin. “Well, the Peterson’s left yesterday afternoon.”
Chase sighed in relief. The Peterson twins had been running up and down the hallways and yelling at the top of their lungs the last few days. He wouldn’t miss them at all.
“Mr. and Mrs. Johnson had to leave in the middle of the night and head home for an emergency,” Nick continued. “And Mr. Olivera is packing now and leaving shortly.”
“So, that just leaves me?”
“Yep.” Nick smiled at him. “Just you through Christmas.”
Another reminder the holidays were right around the corner. The touches of red and green around the room snagged his attention. A set of lighted houses sat across the buffet behind the platters of food. The same set Darcy had collected during the years of their marriage; a new house for each Christmas they’d spent together. The same set he’d found in the trash the last Christmas they’d spent together.
A clear spot sat in front of the bay window. Chase pointed. “For the tree?”
Nick nodded, his thick hair sweeping across his forehead. “I’m getting it tonight. Nana makes a big production out of decorating it. Tells a story for each ornament we put on the tree.”
All he could do was nod. He didn’t trust his voice not to crack with emotion. Darcy did the same thing. A story of getting an ornament. She remembered where and when they’d gotten each one. This one on a trip. This one from a relative. That one from a friend.
He moved over to the buffet and placed a spoonful of each item on his plate. His chest ached at the thought of shoveling food into his mouth. Telling himself he had to eat to stay healthy for Darcy helped, but not enough.
As if Nick could read his thoughts, the young man grabbed a plate, filled it, and sat down beside him. “Hope is a powerful thing.”
“What?” Chase said, his fork halfway to his mouth with scrambled eggs.
“Hope. With hope, anything is possible. Your wife is still there. You just have to reach her and give her a reason to come back.”
“She’s in a coma.”
“Doesn’t mean she can’t hear you.” Nick said, wiping his plate clean and pushing his chair back.
He reached over and placed a hand on Chase’s shoulder and squeezed. “Tell her why she needs to come back.”
Gathering his plate, Nick walked across the room and disappeared into the kitchen. He heard mumblings as he talked to his grandmother and then the clink of dishes being washed. Chase forced himself to finish eating even though the delicious food was tasteless as he was lost in thought.
Give her a reason to come back.
He straightened in his seat. He could do that.
Enjoy the Christmas spirit with 5 sweet, exquisite tales of the holidays. Christmas at the Inn on Main Street is available as an eBook and in print from Amazon.
Season’s Greetings and Wonderful Memories, Jill