I play a game on another blog, apples to apples. This time the instruction was to write a short story on days gone by...thinking of new years reflections of yesterday. I'd like to post here what I wrote there...
DAYS GONE BY.....
sitting on the floor, criss cross applesauce, she gazed into the blinking lights of the christmas tree...
bright lights of red, yellow, green and blue, blinking in tune to "we wish you a merry christmas" drew her into a hypnotic gaze....
she looked down at the presents under the tree. The giant life size barbie smiled back at her surreally. There was a hess truck, ready to go, parked next to boxes wrapped in pretty paper and ribbons. The was another truck filled with chocolate candies...
and she remembered, a different christmas eve; a christmas that seemed so long ago.
with a tree that barely had any lights at all and a scattering of ornaments which had been hand made from paper.
with a Tonka dump truck also filled with chocolate candies. christmas ball candies wrapped in tinfoil colors of red, white and green...
gifts under the tree from Santa waiting for a two year old to pitter patter down the stairs...
she had laid on the sofa that night, wanting to fall asleep but couldn't. The anticipation of the baby's expression with all the gifts she managed to get for him was keeping her awake.
She had begged, borrowed and stoled as the saying goes to get all the dreams she had for this little one.
A single parent working part time at college barely managing to get the bills paid, never really having enough for the bills, the food and the bus fare to get around.
But she did it!
She got him a small table and chair set, had her father buy him some music sing a long videos, signed up for donations with the local red cross toy drive.
and christmas was here.
feet came piddle paddle down the stairs.
"ma ma?" she heard him ask.
"here I am baby, ma ma is down here on the couch. Santa Claus came!'
she was surprised to learn that the two year old didn't really seem to know what that meant.
He just wanted to climb in her lap and watch the christmas lights on the tree.
She got up and gave him a present, "open this one, open it quick, see what Santa brought!"
The little toddler climbed out of her lap and pushed the present away. His eyes were drawn to the dump truck with bright shiny balls in the back.
He toddled over to the truck, sat down in his clumsey, new at walking kind of way; and played with the chocolate candies as if they were the greatest little bright balls that ever existed.
The bag had cost 99 cents.
He kept playing with his new balls as she went from anxiously wanting him to rip open all his gifts to resigning that well, christmas if for him, and if those 99cent bag of chocolate balls brought him joy; she would let him have joy.
She got up and started her household chores. After dinner that night, she tucked a blanket over him as he slept next to the tree on the floor, beside all the presents that hadn't been opened.
She reached down to kiss him goodnight, as he stirred, she saw a ball held tight in each hand; smushing chocolate all over his fingers. Only in his sleep had the chocolate found it's freedom from the wrappers.
19 years later she sat here looking at the new dump truck filled with candies for the new toddler. A different baby, a different father, a different time.
Now there was money, now there would be enough food; enough for the 20 guests that had just joined them for christmas eve dinner. Tomorrow there would be siblings shouting with joy in the morning and a daddy lovingly watching.
This year there was a tree decorated with plenty of lights, plenty of beautiful ornaments...and yet still some hand made paper ones remained.
Those are my favorite ones, she thought.
and she laughed to herself as she looked at the mountains of gifts for the children. She had again spent way too much money, and wondered at the lesson lost from the toddler before.
She had again, not been able to stop shopping after purchasing a simple bag of shiny balls, perhaps saving the money for a later day.
Now, after all these years, after all these children, she knew that even though it was the simplest gifts that touched the hearts of children....
it was her heart she was touching to be a generous Santa Claus..
giving because she knew now, 19 years later, that those precious simple pitter patter days really do vanish much too quickly like the old people had told her.
Before falling asleep on the couch again, like she had for 20 years on christmas eve; she looked at a handmade paper christmas ornament swinging above the new dump truck with tinfoil wrapped chocolate candies...and lovingly remembered days gone by...
Merry christmas everyone.
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