She was dreading Christmas.
It was the day after Thanksgiving. Amy and her kids were in the cold attic. It had already been a long day and it was only two o'clock. They had gotten up at the crack of dawn to do the Black Friday shopping thing, they had eaten a harried lunch. The restraint’s service had been horrible; they had only been concerned about getting people in and out as fast as possible. The staff was rude and short with them. They ate so fast that now Amy had an upset stomach and to match the grinding migraine she'd been fighting all day. All she wanted was to go home and passed out.
But the kids had begged her to get the decorations out; claiming that it it had to be done today. If she had her ways, she would go to bed and not wake up until January 2nd. She had no desire to celebrate Christmas this year, or ever again. Her heart, her life had been shattered into a million pieces just six short, yet very long weeks ago when her husband, Davie had been hit and killed by a drunk drive on his way to work...
It had been a typical morning in the Manor household. They were running late. Nine year old Andy couldn't find his tennis shoes; six year old Shelby was mad that her beloved green shirt, that she'd just worn two days ago, still hadn't been washed. Amy herself had a million things to do; even their dog, Lala, seamed out of sorts.
Davie came into the kitchen looking hurried and exhausted. He'd gotten home late from work last night and had then worked on his computer for almost two hours after he'd gotten home. He'd woke up coughing and sneezing; complaining of a scratchy throat and a headache.
Amy poured him a cup off coffee. "Why don't you stay home today?"
"Why?" He took a sip of coffee; grimacing as he swallowed.
"Umm, because you don't feel good." She started packing lunches.
"I'll say home, Mama. I don't feel good." Andy joined in.
"You feel fine, mister." Amy laughed. "You're just don't feel like taking that math test."
"I feel great." Davie said in a sarcastic tone, looking through yesterday's mail.
"Yeah, right. Sell that to someone who hasn't know you for 12 years."
Everyone grew silent. Amy started cleaning up.
"Did you pick up the dry cleaning, sweetie?" Davie asked.'
"Uh, no honey. I forgot. I got caught up with the fall festival at school. I'm sorry."
"Amy, I asked you two days ago. I need my suit for tomorrow night's banquet." He said harshly.
"I know honey. I'll go get it as soon I drop the kid off at school.'
"OK, OK" He closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. "Do we have anything to do tonight?"
"Not really. I would like to maybe go the church bible study on marriage.'
Davie half groaned and half sighed. "I was hoping for one night this week to just come home and crash."
"That's fine." She tried to hide her disappointment. "I know you don't feel good and you're exhausted. We'll stay home."
"Honey," He felt horrible for disappointing her. "I'll probably feel better, by then."
"We'll see." She blinked away the tears and went back to loading the dishwasher. An alarm went of on Davie's phone.
"Oh man. I forgot, I've got a meeting in 20 minutes. It'ss going to be a long day."
"Can I do anything for you?"
"Pick up my dry cleaning, please." He said half jokingly.
"I'll get it Davie. I said I was sorry." She was getting irrated.
Davie let out a deep breath and rubbed at his left temple. "OK, thanks. I've got to run."
As Davie was packing up to leave, the phone rang. It was a lady from church who wanted to talk about an upcoming bible study. Davie brushed a kiss against her forehead and ran out the door.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Mama!" Andy screamed at her. "You're staring off again."
"Sorry kiddos." She wiped tears from her eyes. "Let's get this stuff downstairs.'
* * * *
Amy dropped the kids off at school, pick up the dry cleaning, and was pulling into the grocery store parking lot when her cell phone rang. It a unknown number. She almost didn't answer. She usually didn't if she didn't recognized the number, but she did because she thought maybe it was the kids' school.
"Mrs. Manor, this is Office Brett Klogger, from the Samson County police department. Your husband has been in a car wreck."
She gasped and gripped the steering wheel. "Is he OK?"
"The doctor wants you to come as soon as possible."
* * * * *
She didn't make it: Davie died before the ambulance made it to hospital.
The details of the wreck were skechy. An eighteen wheel swerved into Davie's lane. The driver had been driving 12 hour straight and had fallen asleep. He had walked away without a scratch; just a whole in heart caused by a guilty conscious that would never heal.
* * *
Down in the family room, Amy fought back tears as she and the kids put the tree. It was bittersweet, especially as they started unpacking the ornaments and nick knacks.
"Mama, mama! Tell us the story! Tell us the story!" Shelby squealed.
Amy took the angel from her daughter. It was holding the baby Jesus. She was laughing and crying simultaneously as she started the story.
'Your Daddy and I got married in November. We went to Gatlinburg. I'd never been there. There were so many Christmas stores. This was the first gift your Daddy ever bought me as his wife. I love Christmas and this was the best gift I ever had."
She sat the angel on the coffee table and turned up the Christmas; trying to lighten the mood. They really had a good time; decorating; it wasn't the same as it had been last year. but it was nice to see the children smile.
"Hey Mama, can we still hang Daddy's stocking up?" Andy asked.
Amy sighed and sat back on her knees. She stared at the red stocking; trimmed in gold. Last year, Shelby had seen this stocking and just had to get it for her "good, good" Daddy. He was the king of the home; and he deserved this stocking that looked like it was made for a king.
"Yes! We always hang the stockings around the fire place, don't we?"
"Will Santa know that Daddy's in Heaven with Jesus?" Shelby asked with tears in her eyes.
"Oh honey," Amy pulled her daughter towards her. "Of course he will. Remember, Santa knows all."
They hung up the stockings and began to dance around the room to "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree". It was all fun and laughter; until the heard something shatter. Adam had knocked into the coffee table and the beautiful Christmas angel had danced right off table.
"Oh no!" Amy began to cry.
"I'm sorry." Andy said.
"It's OK, Andy. Shelby, go get me the broom and dust pan, please."
"Yes." She ran to the kitchen.
"Ouch!" Andy screamed.
Amy turned and saw Andy kneeling on the floor; picking up the pieces of the broken angel. There was a piece of glass stuck in his palm.
"Honey, Stop! You cut yourself." She pulled the glass out of his hand and led him to the sink. "What were you thinking?" She grabbed a rag and held it over his hand.
"Mama, did Andy cut himself?"
"Yes, can you go get him a band-aid please?"
"Yes, Mama." She ran off to the bathroom. Amy turned her attention back to her son; he was crying.
"Mama, that angle was you favorite. Daddy gave it to you and I broke it!"
"Shh...hey it's OK." Amy hugged him. "That angle was made of glass and was just a symbol. You and Shelby are the real angels that Daddy gave me."
* * * * * * * *
They finished up decorating, put the boxes back in the attic , and spent the rest of the evenings watching Christmas specials. After, she put the kids in bed, she fixed herself a cup of hot tear, turned out all the lights, laid down on the couch and stared at the lit tree. She was exhausted; especially emotionally. She didn't know if she was strong enough to do this...She had never even thought that she may one day be a single mom; raising 2 kids on her own.
As she watched the light sparkle on the tree. Her eyes fill with tears. Her eyes rose to the star at the top of the tree. It was always a big debate each year as to weather to use the star which led the wise man to the baby Christ or the angel who told the shepherds of the the baby Christ as the topper. This year had been no exception.
The star had won out this year, and as Amy stared as the glistening star through blurry, hot tears; her heart was filled with anger, and she began to cry out: "God; Please forgive me! I don't understand this path that You have put on. I don't understand how me raising these kids without my husband or their father. However, if this Your will, I know you will give me the strength I'll need to make if through."
Tears flowed down Amy's face as her eyes scanned down the that was filled hand-me-down ornaments from both her and Davie's families; plus many ornaments that the kids had made. Her weary eyes fell on a gift bag; a bag out of her gift wrap stash. Amy picked it up and read the tag: "To: Mama, From Andy and Shelby - Please open now!"
Intrigued, Amy opened the bag and was surprised to see her "Christmas angel" that had fallen off the coffee table earlier. They had actually glued the precious angel back together.
She hugged angel to heart and suddenly felt more at peace than she had in weeks. She knew that God had heard her prayer and that everything was going to be OK.