General Non-Fiction posted November 28, 2015

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A Very Different Christmas Day

by patcelaw

I will always remember the Christmas season of 1975, as my fifteenth birthday would be on Christmas day.

Our home was decorated beautifully. Mama made sure, as that was always the case with our Christmases. The gifts were all wrapped and under the tree.

Mama had painted our living room window as a Christmas card to our neighborhood. She did this each year and I was amazed with her talent to paint lovely scenes with poster paints.

I came home from school five days before Christmas. My neighbor met me and said, "Penny, your mama was taken to the hospital today."

"Oh, no, is she okay?"

"I have not heard how she is, but your dad is at the hospital with her now. He should be home soon."

What an awful feeling I had in the pit of my stomach. There was fear in my soul. Christmas without a mother would be hard.

When dad got home, he sat my sisters and me down and stated, "your mother had some problems with her heart today and they need to keep her at the hospital."

"Is she going to be okay?" I asked.

"Yes, Penny, mom will be okay, and it is just important to keep her for a few days at the hospital. Now I need all of you to pray for mama, and keep all the things done around the house, so when mama comes home she will be able to take it easy."

So wanting to be obedient children Pam, Patty and I made sure to keep the house in order.

We all could not go to the hospital because Patty was still less than twelve years of age. To be allowed into intensive care, visitors had to be twelve or over.

Then came Christmas day. Daddy woke us and said, "We are going to the hospital to see mama."

"Daddy, can we all get in to see our mother?"

"I am not sure, but I will see what I can do to allow all of you into the room where mom is."

We took time to gather all the beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts into large green trash bags, three bags in all. Also, we took the small fifteen inch, Christmas tree and decorated it with tiny ornaments.

Loading the trunk of our car with all the bags and the tree, we were ready to make the twenty-six-mile trip to the hospital to see mom and celebrate my birthday.

On the way to Los Angeles, CA where the hospital was located, we all sang Christmas songs, which we loved hearing our mother sing so often during the Christmas season.

When we went to the hospital, dad took us to the intensive care area and ask to speak to the nurse in charge. When she came, dad said to her, "Miss Judy, would we all be able to see my wife and the mother of our children?"

As Judy, thoughtfully searched for an answer, I began to think we would not all be able to see mama.

Judy, turned about and asked one of her nurses if it would be okay to let our family in to see mom on Christmas Day. A day that is always special to families and our family was no exception.

Finally after what seemed like an hour, Judy said, "We will let all of you in but the children must be quiet."

Dad replied, "I will make sure the girls are quiet."

So we went to the parking lot and retrieved the bags of gifts and the small tree and returned to the intensive care where mama was.

Walking down the halls, Pam, Patty and I had the bags over our shoulders, and dad carried the little tree. I am sure the employees must have gotten a chuckle out of our family as we walked the halls to mama's room.

Entering mom's room we put the bags down and  gave our mother a kiss. She was so pleased to see her girls and said, "Girls, Merry Christmas, may we celebrate the birth of Jesus and also the birth of our precious Penny,"

Dad then put the small tree on the night stand. Because mom was on oxygen, we could not have lights on the tree, but our mother appreciated it so very much.

After we opened our gifts, it was time to celebrate my birthday.

Mother said, "Wayne, we don't have a birthday cake. Could you go out to a store and see if you can find a cake?"

Dad was gone for about an hour. When he got back, he had a package of two Hostess cupcakes and a box of candles. He put the cakes on a paper plate and stuck one candle in each of those chocolate cakes and my family very quietly sang Happy Birthday to me.

Then dad said, "We only have two cakes, yet there are five of us. How do we divide the cakes?"

Mama chimed in and said, "That is easy, we cut the cakes in half and each of the girls can have half of a cake and Wayne, you and I will divide the other half."  I beamed with pride as my mama solved the problem in such a delightful way.

So this Christmas day and my birthday, was a day that is a fond memory in my life even today as a mother and grandmother.

Happy Birthday Jesus, we love you.

-Patricia Lawrence


Christmas Story contest entry


The photo represents the kind of paintings I would do as cards to our neighbors.

This is a story I wrote as a third person write, I wrote it as if it was my daughter Penny Celeste writing the story. It is a true story and I hope you will read and enjoy it. I am the mother in the story.
Penny read this and her comment was, "Thank you Mom."

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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