A Christmas That Opened My Eyes

WCDec2018 — December Writer’s Challenge

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In 1977 my fiancé’s parents invited us to join them during our two weeks off from school and we went to Mexico. Our first stop was Monterrey to visit an orphanage there. It was Christmas eve.

On Christmas morning I woke at dawn. While the others slept in the camper I walked amongst the buildings that housed the children, 120 in all. I peeked into one of the windows, astonished to see 15 young boys were already up and opening presents, just like my brothers and I at Christmastime.

In my home the pile of gifts seemed to fill half the living room — games, bicycles, train sets and assorted expensive toys from family and Santa. By way of contrast, beneath this little Christmas tree there had been a single gift for each boy. One boy got a small bag of marbles. Another received a balsa wood airplane, worth perhaps 39 cents.

Most astonishing of all was their joy. Their effervescent faces beamed, gratitude abundant.

Then, my mind recalled my father’s angry Christmas morning declaration. Stoked by the squabbling between my brothers, he shouted, “If you boys don’t stop fighting we’re not going to have Christmas next year.”

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