GIFT: The Christmas of 1987 By Sally Madison

Week 8 Word: GIFT
Words: 451
The Christmas of 1987
Sally Madison

It was Christmas. Mom and Dad had come over for breakfast. Since the children were now budding young adults, we had our breakfast before we opened gifts. The anticipation level was low for them, now that they were older. Times were tough, so they were expecting clothes and trinkets.

Smiles and relaxed pleasantness abounded, but not for me. Inside my stomach was as jittery as it was the Christmas I checked each box under the tree, to see if it was the right size for a Tiny Tears Doll, like the one I had seen in the Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog. While doing the dishes, my hands were shaking and no one notice how quiet I had become.

Over the past two years I had worked two jobs. At my bill-paying job, I had received a raise, but I didn’t tell anyone one about it I had also taken a part time job. As I horded the additional money, I kept a vision of the Christmas of 1973. My parents and younger siblings had spent that winter in Florida. I was married and had a two year old son. Our presents arrived from Florida, including a Donald Duck hat for my son. It was the saddest Christmas I had ever had.

The children were grateful for their new clothes and all was calm and relaxed. All the presents under the Christmas tree had been opened except one big wrapped box with no tag. I was so choked up, I couldn’t talk. With tears in my eyes, I indicated that my son should open the mystery box. Inside that box were four smaller, wrapped and tagged gifts. He handed out each wrapped gift, one at a time. First was my husband. He received a sun hat and flip-flops. Everyone looked at me as if I had turned green. Then, a box was handed me. Mine contained a new wide brimmed floppy sun hat. Again everyone turned with the look of ‘what are you up to’ expression? I managed a weak smile, as I bit my lip. Next was my daughter. She received a bathing suit and sun glasses. Ah ha! We were going on a trip. We had never taken a family trip before. Now the tension was in the air. Oh, happy day! With great speed and gusto, my son opened his gift. It was a tour guide book for Florida. What excitement! We were going to Disney World! They were so thrilled! Even my Mom had tears in her eyes. Everyone turned to me with questions on their face in disbelief, wondering “How could this be?” With a restricted throat and quivering lips, I muttered, “I made myself a promise.”

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