One Last Christmas

When I was little, my mom would set up a Christmas village every year. In the dining room, on top of a table, I would find myself lost for hours looking at that little village. Tea light candles filled perfect Christmas houses, with perfect Christmas wreaths, and perfect Christmas people. There was a girl with ice skates who I would pretend to be, and she circled the town hall and the pharmacy and back to the center of town to the Christmas tree, and everything was peaceful and snowy and filled with light.

I picture that Christmas village now and all the beautiful memories of Christmases past, I think about how my house is a perfect Christmas house, how last year, my parents refused to not hang the Christmas wreath, they wanted to surprise me. I think about nights that I drove home from class or work, and as I approached our house, my Christmas village, I looked into dining room windows and saw our Christmas house aglow, just like the ones in the Christmas village. Pulling up, I could smell cinnamon broom sticks, apple pies, and the warmth of my mom’s homemade meals. I would imagine opening the doors to a Christmas party, rooms filled with people, filled with love.

Now, when I approach my Christmas house, there are no lights on, there is no warmth, there are no Christmas smells, there are no lights in my Christmas village.

When I was little, we would get our Christmas tree from the neighboring truck driver. He had a stand and my dad would let me hold the money and it was a procession on the way to choose the perfect Christmas tree, and when we finally did, my brother and dad would carry it back down the hill, home, with me trailing behind. One year, we even settled for a miniature tree, that we cut down from our own back yard.

When I got too old to believe in Santa, my mom and dad told me I was right, that Santa didn’t bring the presents, that he brought something far better than that, Christmas joy and spirit, and the warm feeling in your heart when you know it’s Christmastime, and I still believe in that feeling.

But, I hold my dad’s hand in a hospital now, and Christmas is 100 days away. I hold back choked up tears and tell him to squeeze my hand if he can hear me. He does. I admit to him that I just thought we had one more Christmas together because we both love it so much. I tell him it’s selfish, but that all I wish for is one more Christmas.

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