After reading through the hundreds of writing entries that came in, I had a major want to write my own narrative. So I did. Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy.
by Dan Pearce
Ninety-nine years have passed since that frigidly emotional December morning you and I both came home together with Mom and Pop. I remember they were so excited about you, especially. I watched from behind Pop’s coat as he helped Mom settle into that chair she always used to sit in before it disappeared one year. I never did find out what happened to it.
I do remember that morning, though. Mom was so worn down. She moved about gingerly as if she was pushing aside some sort of victorious physical pain. After Pop helped her sit, we left her there and went together to fetch you.
I watched as Pop pulled you to him, wrapped in a homemade yarn blanket. Together we delivered you to Mom who held you and looked at you and just loved you for the longest time. You were so tiny then. Pop and I sat back into his own chair and just watched the two of you. She was always so enamored by you and that day Pop was enamored by her as if he was lost in some sort of strange appreciation for whatever led up to this day.
Eventually you drifted into your own tiny dream world, and Mom let out a deep sigh. That’s when Pop remembered me and finally decided to give me some attention, too.
He reached deep into his wool coat pocket, the one with the torn hole I had been sneaking peeks through, and he pulled me out. I remember clinking against his button as he did. I also remember Mom’s eyes lit up when she saw me the same way they did when she saw you. That made me so happy.
Then, he handed me to her. “Here,” he told her. “I got you this at the hospital. I want you to always remember this day.”
Mom reached her hands out and took me from Pop. She turned me front to back and smiled a smile that would not stay with her for too many years after that. “This ornament is so beautiful!” she declared. “Come take the baby from me. I want to hang it up right now.”
I never felt as happy and proud as I did during those twelve steps it took to cross the living room. Mom hung me up front and center on the tree where I could always see everything going on. “There,” she said as she walked away. “This will be our guardian angel. We’ll always hang him up where he can watch over us.”
That year was my favorite year. That first year. Several times every day, I watched Mom sit in that chair and hold you, or feed you, or sing to you. She would carry you around the room and sometimes reach out and lovingly touch me as she passed by. At nights, Pop would come home. As the winter got colder, he got colder, and often walked by Mom without saying anything at all. Some nights though, he would take you from Mom, and he would swing you and sing to you. “My little man, my little man, fear not this night, fear not the light, for all of it is one big plan.” I loved the nights when he sang to you.
Christmas came and went. Days later Mom pulled me from the tree. “Thank you guardian angel, for keeping us safe this year.” I was then wrapped in newspaper, and put into a box, and for the better part of a year I waited anxiously to come out and see what was going on in our family once more.
Eleven months after that Christmas, those same familiar hands picked me up once more. Once again I was hung in the center of the tree. Mom kissed me. “Welcome back, guardian angel.”
I was so excited to see you again, and even more surprised at how you had grown. You must have been a foot taller now, and you were pulling yourself up to things. I used to laugh as I watched you wobble to and fro, and finally land on your tiny cloth-covered rump. And I laughed again, this time out of excitement, when I watched you take your first clumsy steps toward Mom. Oh, she was so happy.
That Christmas passed too quickly for me. It seemed that everything you did was a new tiny miracle. Pop was so happy to come home and see you. He didn’t sing to you, though. I don’t know why. But he loved you, and he played with you, and he made you laugh hysterically.
Eleven months after that Christmas, I was back on the tree. I was back front and center. I finally got to see my family that I loved so much. My, how you grew in that time. You were running from room to room. I remember you pulled an entire sack of flour over and Mom chastised you firmly. I used to laugh and laugh at the trouble you would get yourself into, and how you always made Mom chase you around the way you did. That year she touched me often as she passed, as if I would give her strength when she needed it most.
Eleven months after that Christmas, I was back on the tree. And this is where things start getting slightly fuzzier for me. The years began to blend together from there on out, and they passed with such speed as I never knew was possible.
I don’t remember much from that year. I only remember that Mom was sad. I remember that you spent a lot of time alone with your toys. I remember that I didn’t see Pop that year. Like Mom’s chair I never found out why he disappeared. I only heard bits and pieces spoken quietly to Mom about being strong and making it through her trials. I didn’t see you very often, either. You spent a lot of time in some other part of the house. I remember wanting to see you. Desperately.
Eleven months after that Christmas, I was back on the tree. I watched for hours as you played cowboys and Indians. I watched you as you built great towers with your blocks. I watched you count how many licks it took to wear the swirls from the front of a lollipop.
I remember that was the year you first discovered me. “Mom, is that an angel?” You asked.
“How did you know that?” she said as she deviated her course from the kitchen and headed toward us instead.
“They taught us in Sunday school about angels,” you said.
Mom took me from the tree and handed me to you. “Be gentle,” she said. “This is not just any angel. This is our guardian angel. He came home from the hospital with you when you were born and has watched over us ever since.”
I remember looking up at you as you looked at me with such awe. I was never so happy or proud as I was right then.
I watched you grow up after that. I watched you really grow up. I only saw a glimpse of you each year. A snap shot. One month of twelve that I was allowed to watch you.
I was watching when you had your friend Timmy over and you both said your first swear together.
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Dammit Dan! You made me cry. That was probably one of the most beautiful things that I've read in a long time. It was amazing.
Dan, this was truly wonderful. This weekend, I will be celebrating Christmas with a roomful of relatives. Might I read this for them? I know they'll love it too... thanks!
Damnit Dan. You're not meant to make us cry on Christmas Eve. But thank you for reminding us of what's important at this time of year. Merry Christmas my friend. I hope you have a wonderful time surrounded by the people you love.
Thank you for reminding me to be sure my daughter has my "angel" ornament to bring out to watch over her family every year. (I don't put up a tree, but do take out the few ornaments I've saved and enjoy them over the holiday....this year I won't put my angel away)
Single Dad Laughing - Dan, I subscribe but I am now seeing your posts as multi-page. I am not seeing the "sign in"...what am I doing wrong?
Thanks for making me cry at work... *sniff sniff* Now I have to tell people "Those aren't tears in my eyes, I just yawned really big."
Beautiful. This brought me both smiles and tears. You are a gifted writer and story teller. Thank you for sharing.
What an awesome "story"!! Thank you for sharing this, Dan. I've never heard anything like this and it has moved me to tears and thankfulness!!
Wow. Thank you for sharing that story. You've made me cry, too, but because of the sheer beauty of your story. Thank you.