Home for the Holidays: The Unexpected Gift
The Unexpected Gift
The Unexpected Gift is a little story that grew out of an opportunity to enter a writing contest in which entries were supposed to be read in about 3 minutes. It is part of a group of stories that continue to evolve. Thanks for stopping by to read this one!
The Gift of a Lifetime ✧
Gray light filtered through the soft dimness of the bedroom into her eyes.
“What ‘cha doing, Adam?”
“Lookin’ out the window.”
“Well, I see that, Hon, but it’s cold without you beside me. What ‘cha lookin’ at?”
“We were expectin’ it,” she said flatly, tucking the familiar handmade covers closer in around her neck. “I’m just glad the kids got here safe and sound beforehand.”
“It snowed a lot, Angie–a lot.”
Even though he tried to sound somber, his big voice smiled when he heard her freeze in the bed as she realized what it meant.
He tried to hold on to his charade with a serious, “We’re gonna be down for a few days.”
Turning, he knew he would see her face light up in the early morning shadows. Warming at the sight of her springing from the thick blankets Adam couldn't help but grin big before he wrapped his warm arms around his shivery wife.
Next thing he knew she was trying to wiggle around with a chilly "Brrrr" exclaiming “Let me see it!"
Laughing, he turned her small frame as she scrambled around in his arms to whisk the lacy white curtain aside. Watching her excitement made all the health issues melt into the background.
Her words came like a spring rain shower. “Oh, oh, oh! I’m so thankful! They’re here and we’re socked in together! No one will be droppin' in on us! Just hear that deep quiet!”
Adam told her how he had been listening to the children breathe as they slept, that he could tell where each one had landed in the night by the sound of their sleep. A snow-bound house full of children and grandchildren was just what he and Angie needed to give them the merry Christmas of their dreams.
In a flash their clothes were changed and both were racing to be the first to make coffee. It was always a game for them, each wanting the distinction of brewing the first pot of the day, but having the kids home upped the ante.
Already in a playful mood, the grandparents made a clattering, noisy breakfast as they wondered if it would be a toddler or a dad who would make their way to the big kitchen first. Laughing and talking as loud as they could, their impatience told on their desire.
They also wanted to get some food ready before everyone else got up since the older grands would be hurrying out to see their pets in the barn. A new litter of mouse-catchers was waiting on them, and the horses were already expecting a walk in the clear morning sun after that night’s unexpected blizzard.
It was too bad that they didn't live closer so they could enjoy the animals more often, but that did at least make their visits extra special. Beside themselves with joy, Adam and Angie intended to make the most of this alone time with their children. They knew that when the weather cleared others would be stopping by, lingering to enjoy visits.
The time would fly by fast, but they meant to relish every minute of this unexpected gift. Hungry babies would need feeding soon, but then things would settle down for a while and they would have priceless time together.
Their grown children would sit with them at the bay window in the kitchen drinking coffee, reminiscing, and catching up. They could talk about any and every thing they wanted to talk about. Later on they would discuss everything they needed to talk about.
Watching out for happy toys scattered on the floor, Angie spent time between her kitchen and family room that opened to thier wide white and green porch. The little ones couldn’t be out in the cold for too long at a time, but they loved running out every few minutes and then back in to snuggle in the next warm someone’s lap or cuddle up to the fireplace by Maisy, the one dog with sense enough to stay indoors.
Lunch was a breeze what with everyone eating sandwiches as they felt like it. Suppertime was planned for the dining room. The table had been set since Tuesday and tiny candles at every plate were waiting to be lit. The ham with all its expected sides was in the making. Lots of willing hands would put last minute recipes together fast.
With big kids in and out for lunch, full of teasing and laughter and then all gone again, and little ones down for a nap–tiny Abigail slept in her portable crib in the pantry and the rest piled on the floor pillows by the tree, lights twinkling above them–Angie settled down to rest among the grownups.
The big Christmas meal will come soon enough, she thought, deciding not to think about everything that needed doing in order to be ready for a big crowd to eat together. Next Saturday would be busy with cooking and visiting with all the other relatives as well as a pile of old friends.
But, now, thanks to Providence’s gracious gift of the blizzard–the gift of a lifetime–she prayed with a grateful heart, "Thank You that we have the kids during this storm." Though she faced an uncertain future, she had assurance that all the needed grace would come from on high.
Adam watched his wife's happy face throughout the afternoon, thankful for the joy they shared. Their children watched their father's face, noting the deepening lines around his eyes, each wondering how many more chances like this there would be, each resolving to spend more time together.
In the afternoon, when one found the other in the kitchen to check the coffee maker, Adam quietly eased near his wife to speak her name softly, "Angie."
"What is it Adam?" she asked with wide eyes.
His joyful smile might have said it all, "Could there've been a better gift than a blizzard?"
Check out the other story titles from this Home for the Holidays series in the links below:
This group of simple little stories grew out of a contest idea. You might like to make a cup of tea and check out the others in the batch:
•Fostering Care -- Home for the Holidays, Number 8
On Christmas Day our gifts were nice, yet, that day I realized that no present on earth could ever equal what being accepted as one of their family members meant to me.
• Perfect Traditions --Home for the Holidays, Number 7
Mom’s delight is to have her big get-together on New Year’s Day. She loves it that the whole clan has that to look forward to after Christmas has come and gone.
• Christmas Fudge -- Home for the Holidays, Number 6
There’s a small river between the woods and the main field that I want to get reacquainted with. He and I are old friends, and I need to hear his voice again.
• The Favor -- Home for the Holidays, Number 5
Son, there's something special about family. You can’t buy it, and you can’t replace it if you throw it away. Do you understand?
• A Holiday Respite -- Home for the Holidays, Number 4
I’ll close my eyes in the safest place on earth, and open them again to familiar sights in the morning's light. Everything on this side of the world will be behind me--for a little while.
• Grandpa's House -- Home for the Holidays, Number 2
Then he’ll settle you around his tree by the fireplace. The gifts will be spilling out everywhere, but he won’t say a word about them.
• A Change of Plans -- Home for the Holidays, Number 1
They'll promise not to let so much time go by before they see each other again, knowing all the while how impractical it is to bother to say it.
A Simple, Classic Silent Night With Country Snow Scenes For You To Enjoy:
On Writing for Contests
As mentioned, I wrote a little series of holiday stories as entries that continued to evolve here on HubPages after I decided against that particular contest years ago. They've been a fun creative outlet and it's been encouraging to receive positive feedback on them because it makes me consider the possibility of future contests. With that view I am exploring the best books on the topic.
How to Write Winning Short Stories is a thorough guide for writers interested in trying their hand at contests. Nancy Sakaduski takes readers through the process they need to understand and engage with through questions and answers, check lists, and explanations of practicalities like point of view, characters and dialogue, as well as teaching important concepts on the "wow factor" (and other factors).
Win Story Contests!
Christmas at the Mall:
Mountain Christmas Music
More Holiday Stuff and Such:
- Christmas Music of John Rutter
Words like talented must be preceded with breathtakingly in order to do justice to John Rutter's Christmas music.
- Keeping Your Holiday Job: Merry Christmas or Not?
Sharing the traditional phrase "Merry Christmas" on the job can be an interesting experience. Such a simple greeting said with kind sincerity can provoke a whirlwind. What do you think about this true situation?
- Candy And Snacks: What's Best For Holidays And Birthdays
Snack foods now include organic and HFC free products. Healthy alternatives to traditional candy are fun and delicious.