Merry Christmas, Friends!
Welcome to the #12DaysofTwitter blog series! Have you seen some of your writer friends sporting funny Christmas-y names? Well, what began as a simple name change from one twitter writer snowballed, and is now a chance for twenty-four awesome writers to share memories and stories of what Christmas means to us. Click this link for the complete link list of all twelve days.
Two Dancing Megs
The Girl on the Bench
I stare at her from my window, rehearsing the conversation in my head.
It’s been two weeks since I spotted her on that bench.
She was pretty, of course. I know that now. But at the time, I probably wouldn’t have noticed her if it weren’t for the book.
It wasn’t the book itself. It was the way she read it—studying the words so intensely that she didn’t seem to notice anyone or anything around her.
I’d never seen anyone read like that, craving words like they were the only sustenance she needed. She absolutely devoured them.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Not then. Not now. We’ve eaten lunch together nearly everyday since—I at my desk, she on that bench. Twenty-five minutes. Everyday.
Which is why I have ten, no, eight minutes.
I have to know her, and today is the day. People are friendlier on Christmas Eve, right? Small talk is easier.
I run my hand over my chin, wishing I’d shaved this morning. I turn from the window and say “Hello” a few times to the air, smoothing my voice. Maybe I’ll ask her about the book.
When I make it outside, the bench is empty.
I missed her.
I look in both directions.
I missed my chance.
My gaze falls to the sidewalk and I turn, spinning back to my building and directly into a petite brunette with bright blue eyes and a book in her hands.
“Merry Christmas,” she says.
I’ve seen her smile before, at the book, but now she’s smiling at me and I’m paralyzed. I hesitate entirely too long before replying, “Hello.”
It comes out quieter than I’d planned.
She lowers her gaze and giggles as she steps around me.
I freeze, adding her giggle to the list of things I need more of in my life, and then she’s gone.
Did I even smile at her?
Her scent hangs there before flowing past me and I turn with it, not ready to let her go.
When I do, she’s looking back, too.
This time, I smile.
Two Reggie Birds
When my oldest son was about to be three years old and finally ‘got’ Christmas - Santa Claus, and reindeer, and elves - we went to visit the mall Santa so he could sit on his lap and tell Santa exactly what he wanted for Christmas. My kid was so excited. For months he knew what he wanted for Christmas. He wanted a GeoTrax train. This train was the only thing he wanted for sure for Christmas.
As parents of a child who was suddenly SO excited about Christmas we did everything we could to encourage this.
“What kind of train do you want?” I had asked, finding the GeoTrax train that would be perfect him and showing it to him. He wanted that train. “Well, you have to be really good, and be sure you tell Santa what you want when we go see him.”
My wife did the same thing. He was small and so excited about Christmas. We had just found out that he was going to have a little brother next July, so this Christmas was a big deal. It would be the last where it would be just him. The three of us would go see Santa and he would get this train.
“... be sure you tell him exactly which train you want.”
We bought the exact train, and all the parts he wanted. Christmas morning he would wake up, run into the living room of our house and see the train track taking up so much of the living room. He would be so excited, his little round cheeks would be eaten up by his grin. His bright brown eyes would shine from the twinkling white lights of the Christmas tree. The child would be happy and filled with joy. We would be wonderful parents and it would be a picture perfect Christmas, the last Christmas where it would be just the three of us.
So, the day of our trip to go talk to Santa, we dress him in little brown pants, his nice shoes, a little blue sweater with some random number where a shirt pocket might be. He looked adorable. Little round cheeks full, his eyes bright, so excited to go see Santa Claus.
“Tell Santa what train you want so he’ll know which one to bring. Santa brings the toys in his sleigh to all the boys and girls so be sure you tell Santa what you want.”
We go to the mall and it was so busy, but we were excited. He was beaming, he was bright. We were excited because our little boy with brown hair and brown eyes looked like he could explode with excitement. We were in line to sit on Santa’s lap. My wife brushed his hair and grabbed his little chin grinning at him. I looked at some of the other kids who were scared of Santa and looked at my son knowing that wasn’t going to be an issue at all. He was excited.
“What are you going to tell Santa you want?” I asked him
“A train,” he said and went on to tell me that he wanted a GeoTrax train, and what parts he wanted, and what color engine he wanted. We had already purchased all these things - they were at home in the closet ready for Christmas Eve so that they could be built and ready for him when he woke up Christmas morning. We would be a beautiful family in our festive pajamas, my little boy in his new pajamas and slippers smiling big.
“You tell Santa so he can be sure it is in his sleigh,” my wife said.
“Where does Santa keep his sleigh while he’s here?” he said looking at the Santa there in the chair We were next in line. This Santa was outstanding. He looked very real and was very nice to the kids.
“On the roof,” I had said.
“He wants to make sure all the reindeer stay out of the way,” my wife said.
When it was our turn, he ran up to Santa and jumped up on his lap. He smiles for the camera, the best picture ever. He was just one big ball of excitement, and it is captured in the picture.
Santa asked him, “...and what do you want for Christmas?”
My boy says, “I want this train with…” he went on describing the train and what it was and how it looked and how much he wanted it. His eyes were big as he told Santa about this wonderful train.
Santa smiled at him, told him to be good and Merry Christmas. He sat my son down, my boys eyes still bright and wide, smile covering his face and he handed him a coloring book and motioned for the next child to come over.
He walked over to us and climbed into his stroller.
From his stroller, my son stared at Santa and burst into tears.
He cried and it was an ugly cry, tears just rolling down his little cheeks, lips poked out. He could barely speak. The child was as upset as I had ever seen him. My wife grabbed him and picked him up out of the stroller because, at this point, all the other parents were watching and the other kids were watching my son not Santa.
We walked off to the side with him.
“What’s wrong baby?” my wife asked wiping tears out of his eyes.
“Where’s my train?” he asked so sincerely hurt that I could feel my heart bumping on my stomach.
“Baby, you know he brings it for Christmas morning,” my wife said to him.
“Remember bud, like last year,” I said. “He brings it in his sleigh.”
“You said the sleigh’s on the roof,” he said.
There was one thing we had forgotten to tell my little three year old in all this excitement. While we were telling him to get ready to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas so Santa could get it from his sleigh for him, we neglected to remind him that Santa didn’t bring this to the mall. No, this wonderful train wouldn’t be brought to him until Christmas morning.
Two weeks from then.
My child was inconsolable. He was screaming and crying - and not the screaming of a child who was spoiled and wanted his way, but the scream of a child who had been lied to, and fooled - bamboozled into excitement over a train that this fake mall Santa didn’t have.
My boy didn’t get the tears completely out of his eyes until we had made the full forty-five minute trip home. He sat heartbroken in his little car seat staring out the window mumbling about his train the whole way.
Christmas morning was great, and he was very excited, and it was cute, but the perfect little Christmas morning wasn’t quite as Christmas card as we had expected.
Needless to say that my wife and I have been quite careful with how we have explained the whole Christmas process to my youngest son. The mall Santa is now, unequivocally an authorized helper of Santa’s but by no means does he have the authority to have presents on site and his contract states he can help, but no toy deliveries. :)
Poor kid! And Megan's story totally gave me butterflies in my stomach. Well done, both of you.
Come back for more stories and memories tomorrow!