Home for Christmas - Pt. 9 - Giving Thanks.
A Blessed Christmas
A Beautiful Surprise
Most of the dishes were on the side-board, and Grandma was clearing the dirty dishes to go in the dishwasher. Fleur’s car drew up, doors closed, then another car came in after hers. ‘Well, who’s that?' wondered Paul. He and his cousins peered out curiously.
Feet crunched on the porch, the door opened and ‘Happy Christmas, Daddy!’ called out Fleur.
‘Oh, my God, Renee, and little Penny,’ Don stared, almost dropping the serving spoon.
‘Their doctor came with them too, Dad.’ Fleur was glowing. All the family crowded round, eager to touch the baby. Renee was in Don’s arms immediately.
'Cool!' said Leonie.
‘Merry Christmas, Don. And all of you too. Afraid I invited myself. Hope you don’t mind.’
‘Merry Christmas, Patrick. You couldn’t be more welcome if I asked you myself. Oh, let me wash my hands and get at that baby.’
He was the most adoring father anyone had ever seen, not having been able to touch her since her birth. ‘Ah, babe, let me hold you.’ Leonie and Madeleine could barely hold back their tears, their tender teenage hearts bursting with emotion. I'm going to paint this, swore Madeleine, blurry eyes looking at Don holding the baby
‘Er, Dr. G., would you like a drink? I’d better call you Patrick, you’re young enough to be my grandson.‘
‘He likes to be called Patrick, Grandma. I’ll get him some sherry.’
Don was beside himself with joy. ‘How did you manage to escape the hospital, sweetheart?’ he asked Renee.
‘Patrick will tell you, honey. That was the deal. He swore me to secrecy. I was dressing the baby when you all called.’
Baby is home
Together at Last. Fleur and Patrick.
Dr. Gallagher accepted his sherry from Fleur and asked Don to sit down with him. Don held the baby as closely as he could. He loved the smell and the feel of the little body in her swaddling clothes. ‘Remember I told you yesterday that they might be discharged in a day or two? Well, I knew the baby was about ready. She was gaining weight and looking really good. Then I called Fleur and told her, if she would pick them up today, I would come along to keep an eye on them. I needed an excuse to come here, I have to see her, Don. I’m asking your permission to court her.’
Don’s jaw dropped in surprise. He moved it and no sound came out. Then, ‘Well, I’ll be darned. You’re asking my permission? We’ll I’ll be darned. Didn’t know your generation asked permission to date one’s daughter any more. Have you asked her?’
‘I told her yesterday I had to see her. She said she’d like that. I know she has to finish schooling, Don, I won’t rush her. Just as long as we can be together sometimes. I’m going to Ireland next year and I’d like her come with me to meet my parents, if if’s okay with you. She's just the most beautiful girl I've ever known and I want her to know my people. And don't worry, my mother has lots of spare bedrooms, and a really fierce Irish setter to stand guard outside a door.'
Don nuzzled his baby and looked at Patrick over her shoulder. ‘I’ll be darned!’ he said.
Christmas Dinner - Giving Thanks
‘Dinner’s ready, please sit down.’ Grandma called out when she saw all the children staring agog at Patrick and Don, knowing something was up.
‘C’mon, everybody,’ said Renee. ‘Don, Patrick, Mom’s calling. Let’s put the baby on the floor in the den, Don. I’ll fold the throw and lay her on it and there are blankets in the car-seat.’
‘Oh, let Madeleine and me do that, Mom. We know how.’ So the two girls took the baby and lay her down gently in the den.
The family and their guest sat themselves. They joined hands and Don gave thanks to God for all the blessings they had received, and for the safety and health of the new baby. He thanked Him for bringing their family from France and for Patrick, that they might share their Christmas celebration with them. He asked that He continue to bless and guide them in their lives and to help them to always make the right decisions. ‘Amen.’
‘Amen,’ they chorused.
'Oh, look, it's starting to snow,' shouted Paul excitedly. Sure enough, the pure white flakes were falling softly on the tree branches. There was an expectant hush and peace descended on them all.
If you have followed my story to this point, I humbly thank you. And wish you :
A BLESSED CHRISTMAS, ONE AND ALL!