It was the first Christmas that I remember not going to Grandma’s house, and I was really disappointed. So were my two younger sisters. No matter that the reason we could not go was that we were receiving a less-than-portable, priceless Christmas gift.
Mom was expecting our fourth sister. All three of us were excited to welcome Rachelle or Caress into our nearly all-girl household. But, it just wasn’t Christmas anywhere but Grandma’s house.
Our Christmas tree didn’t have the little electric ornaments that made the tree humm with its own life. Our mantle didn’t have the eight little carolers poised over the fireplace with their mouths perpetually stuck the middle of a perfect, “Gloooooooooo—-ooooo—-oooo-ooooria!” Our house didn’t have the upstairs bedroom with two sets of bunk-beds so that we could coordinate our waking and Christmas morning assault on the adults. Even though Granddad and Grandma were coming to our house, we didn’t believe that Grandma’s coffeecake would taste the same in our kitchen.
Dad was not to be persuaded by three pairs of puppy-dog eyes begging him to reconsider the two hour drive to Bartlesville for the holiday. Mom was due any day, the 22nd to be precise, and it wasn’t wise to ask her to travel with a newborn three days later.
The night of the 21st we crawled into bed believing that we had three more days to convince Mom and Dad of the necessity of going to Grandma’s house for Christmas. Suddenly, before the sugarplums had begun their December dance, Daddy was shaking my shoulder.
“Abby, wake up. I’m taking your mom to the hospital, the baby is on its way! Susan from next door has come over. She is going to stay with you until Granddad and Grandma can get here. I love you!”
Daddy disappeared before his exciting message shook me fully awake. I scrambled from under the covers and dashed into the living room where our neighbor was quietly reading a book.
“Good morning, Abby. You’re up early. Your dad told you about your sister. I’ll bet you can’t go back to sleep either. Do you want to play a card game?”
The good news finally came about nine in the morning. Rachelle Lynn had arrived just in time for Christmas. The next day was a blur. There was a trip to the hospital to see our red-wrinkly Christmas present. My Grandparents arrived, a day earlier than they had planned, so that Daddy could stay with Mom at the hospital. In the wonderful chaos my sisters and I forgot about where we were ‘supposed’ to spend Christmas.
Christmas morning was crystal clear and cold that year. Rachelle slept, a pink little wrinkle in my mother’s lap as we unwrapped all the gifts beneath our tree. I am sure the coffeecake was delicious. The carolers at Grandma’s house sang the same silent song even though we weren’t there. Our Christmas tree worked just as well as Grandma’s as it towered over our pile of gifts. Actually, I don’t remember a single thing I received that year, except for my little sister.