* * * * *
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The Christmas Treasure, by Annette Skarin
I stood in the middle of the second floor of the mall known as the Galleria. I was overflowing with joy as I clutched my purse with the sixty dollar Christmas bonus we had quite unexpectedly been blessed with that year. I was a single mother once again, but this time with three children instead of one.
The shoppers swarmed around me – many of them with lemony looks on their faces and empty glazed eyes. Occasionally someone would smile and say “Merry Christmas”, which would brighten my spirit and charge me with the energy of the season as I cheerily returned the greeting. Christmas tunes were dancing in the air and all the shop windows were dressed up and alluring.
I had been so poor in the previous years that I hadn’t been able to afford presents for Christmas. I already knew in my heart the special gift I wanted to purchase each one of my children. A special VHS tape (remember those) that had just been released showing shots of whales and dolphins underwater for my son. A pair of pretty earrings with turquoise stones for my oldest daughter. And last, but not least, a photo album for my youngest daughter.
I was pleased with my selection and had a little money left over, so I stopped at the candy store to get a few of my favorite jelly-belly jelly beans (my favorite was popcorn). I set my purchases down next to me and weighed out and purchased my treats and then quickly left the crowded store.
It only took a few minutes before I realized my bags were no longer with me. I hurried back to the candy store and saw the now empty spot glaring at me. I asked the person behind the counter if they had seen a bag or if anyone had turned one in. She said, “No, I’m sorry.”
I left the store in a panic and backtracked to every store I had been to. Every answer was, “No, I’m sorry” until someone suggested I report it to mall security. Numbly I found my way to the security booth; by then tears were beginning to form. I told my story between sobs and garbled speech. They tried to keep me calm while they called security personnel on their walkie-talkies but they all came back with the same answer. Sorry!
My heart sank and I wanted to scream out, why? I finally went home and lay there bawling uncontrollably. Our Christmas was ruined.
My children had been at school but when they arrived home they asked me, “What’s wrong Mom?” I told them what had happened and all of them said almost in chorus, “It doesn’t matter Mom, as long as we have each other.”
I have never forgotten that lesson. I am blessed to have such loving children.
* * * * *
For more stories from Annette, please check her blog: Annette's Blog