I was sixteen and the oldest at home. It was a difficult time for my family. My mother was absent. She had a terrible nervous break down and left our family and home two months before Christmas. Then my older brother left. So it was me, my dad, and two younger brothers.
As Christmas approached I grew more and more anxious about Christmas morning and how it would all play out without a mother. We grew up with a mother that always made Christmas magical. Not to say that we had tons of costly presents. In fact, we would get about five presents each. I still remember that one was a package of socks and another was always under wear. That was a little embarrassing for me to open as I was the only girl in a family of three boys. Then there was a game and the other one we got every year was a small book of life savers. But the most exciting part of our Christmas morning was our stockings. My mother, I mean, Santa, stuffed them full of treats, trinkets, and thoughtful small gifts individualized for each child. So fun.
I don’t know how my mother did it every year. She was really resourceful and could make anything. But this particular year I don’t think there was much money for Christmas or maybe my father was so depressed and just trying to survive the horrible life without his sweetheart that he wasn’t aware of children needing gifts for Christmas. Those were sad days.
I was able to save a little of my own babysitting money for some Christmas candy and something for each brother, but I think I was so worried about our situation that I must have confided in my best friend, Carrie. She listened and offered words of comfort. She told me that everything would work out. I remember feeling better.
Christmas Eve had finally arrived. I made sure that my young brothers had fallen asleep. With very little to give them my heart broke. I wanted so badly to stuff there stockings full of wonderful and magical things so that for a moment they wouldn’t feel the pain of a missing mother on Christmas day. I had a last minute thought of a little something I could do. So I sat at my father’s desk and using one of his red pens I wrote each brother a special letter from Santa Claus. I told them both how wonderful they were and that they deserved so much and that Christmas would be better next year. With a heavy heart I finished the letters and signed Santa Claus’s name.
As I was putting candy and the letters in their stockings I heard somebody at the front door trying to get in. Could it really be Santa? It was Carrie, with bags in each hand. I couldn’t believe it. She brought over cars, markers, toys, candy, anything that two young boys would love to find in their stockings. She insisted that I help her fill the stockings. She was so excited and happy to be there. I remember at first I felt embarrassed because of our humble situation but the embarrassment was quickly replaced with gratitude. I was grateful for my prayers being answered by a kind and giving best friend who was more than Santa Claus. She was an angel. She made our Christmas a magical one that year. I learned what Christmas was really all about. Christmas is the season of selfless giving and brotherly love one to another.