A treasure rediscovered near Christmas time

Santiago Populín Such writes for Omnes this short story about Christmas, very suitable to read to the little ones at home.

Santiago Populín Such-December 24, 2022-Reading time: 5 minutes
Christmas Story

A Christmas story for the whole family (Unsplash / Gareth Harper).

It was a cold December afternoon, snow covered the yard and the quiet swings invited to play. It was five minutes before the bell rang, the Christmas vacations were just minutes away. All the fourth graders were looking at the old, noisy clock on the blackboard. Suddenly, the teacher interrupted their stares and said in a loud voice: 

- The assignment for this Christmas is for them to write about what they dream of being when they grow up. The writing that you like the most -we will vote among several teachers- will win two tickets to go to the ice skating rink.

With that said, the clock faded into the background; the students' minds were now on the rink. The bell rang and Thomas hurried out to the car where his mother was waiting for him. He climbed into the car with his four siblings and said to his mother with great anxiety: 

- Hi, Mom! Don't you know the prize that Professor Luis will give to whoever wins the best story about what we dream of being when we grow up? 

His mother and siblings looked at him with intrigue, and responded: 

- What is the prize?

- Well, whoever wins that essay will receive two tickets to go to the rink!

- Impressive," said his mother with a tone of surprise. - And you know what you're going to write about? Last year you dreamed of being an archaeologist, like Indiana Jones. 

His older siblings, Lucia and Paco, began to laugh. Blushing, Tomás answered:

- Well, not anymore, mom, last year I was a kid, now I'm older, I like other things. For example, I would like to be an engineer, like dad; or a doctor, to drive an ambulance; or a teacher so as not to give homework to the children; or maybe be a lawyer and have an office with a big chair like Uncle Manuel's.

Maria, his five-year-old sister, interrupted him in the voice of an old empress: 

- You could be a fireman, you really like fire...right, mom? 

Marta, the mother, began to laugh.

- I don't know... as I said, there are many professions that attract me. What I am sure of is that I want to do something important," Tomás continued.

A few seconds before arriving home, Tomás asked Marta:

- Mom, what was your dream when you were a child? Have you achieved it?

Marta was speechless at the question and, after a few seconds that seemed like an eternity to the child, she answered:

- Well, let me think. Oh, here we are, let's go inside because it is very cold and have a delicious snack, I have prepared churros filled with dulce de leche! 

- Good! -they all shouted, celebrating the delicious snack.

Martha was somewhat distressed at the question. Before they all sat down to snack, the sound of the door was heard and she added:

- Dad is here! 

After they had all eaten together, Martha said to Juan, her husband: 

- Honey, I'll go to my father's house for a moment to take him some medicine, he has a cold. I'll be back around 8 pm. 

Juan had noticed her a little strange during the afternoon snack, but he thought he would ask her what happened to her after dinner, when they would be calmer to talk. 

As soon as Marta walked in the door, her father noticed her looking a little strange.

- Hey, Dad, I'm here, I brought your meds. How's your cold holding up?

- My daughter, I am better now, but I rather ask you: how are you? I see you are distressed.

- Nothing, Dad, why do you say that?

- You have a face... Come on, I know you, what's wrong?

- Oh, Dad, you realize everything, how you know me, I can't fool you.

- Let's sit down for a moment," said his father.

Martha, taking a deep breath, said: 

- Well, I went to pick up the kids from school and Tomás told us about the homework he was given for Christmas: write down what they dream of being when they grow up. 

- Well, but, that's not what you're worried about, is it? 

- No, dad. What happens is that Tomi told us what his dreams are: to become a great engineer, or a doctor, or a professor or a prestigious lawyer. Then he asked me what I dreamed of when I was little and if I had achieved it. This is what hurt and distressed me. You know I always dreamed of going to college, but life got complicated and I couldn't achieve it. I did not achieve my dream and now I am a simple housewife without any profession.

Before Marta could continue speaking, her father took her by the hand and said:

- Marta, my daughter, why didn't you achieve your dream? Isn't your family, your home, your dream achieved? And why are you a simple housewife without a profession? You have all the professions that Tomasito dreams of. You are an engineer, because you have built a great cathedral, your beautiful family; you are a doctor, last week you cured Juan of that bad flu thanks to your care and now you are curing me; you are also a teacher, don't your children's friends come to your house to do their homework because you explain it to them very well; and you are a lawyer, because you defend them from the injustices of life. And most importantly, you make God be in your home, in your kitchen, at your table, in the lives of your people. 

And before he saw Marta burst into tears, he added:

-And now let's get a cup of hot tea.

It was 8:00 p.m. and Marta was startled:

  • Oh, it's so late! Dad, I have to go now, I have to get dinner ready. Thanks as always, it's so good to have you! Daddy, what would I do without your wise advice? 

Martha said goodbye to her father with a big hug and a big smile. Thus she walked home, warm with the warmth of her recovered joy, which annihilated the polar cold, and in this way, her rediscovery made her arrive in a moment. 

When she opened the door of her house, she found an endearing scene: Juan, her husband, reading a story to little Pedro; María, playing with the ox and the donkey in the Bethlehem; Tomás, writing his homework to win the skating tickets, and a smell of tomato sauce led her to the kitchen, where she found Paco and Lucía preparing some pizzas. At that moment, and after having carefully observed everything she had seen since she entered the door, Marta was moved, her eyes looked like glass in the rain, as she remembered the words her father had said to her minutes before.

- Mom, what's wrong," asked Lucía.

Smiling, Marta told him:

-Everything is fine, nothing is wrong, daughter, I'm going to prepare the table, they have already saved me a lot of work making dinner.

As the seven of them sat down at the table, Lucía took the floor and, looking at Marta with a giggly smile, said in an adolescent tone:

- Dad, there's something wrong with mom and she won't tell us. She's been very strange since she came home from Grandpa's house.

John looked at Martha and said: 

-What's the matter, honey?

Marta, smiling, said in a kind voice: 

- Don't worry, everything is fine. The truth is that I am very happy because I have already received my Christmas present.

At that instant, little Pedrito darted into the living room to see if the fireplace had a gift for him too. 

- Mom, what present did you receive," Thomas asked intrigued.

- It is not yet January 6th," Maria continued with a surprised look on her face.

As Paco ate all the pizza, Pedrito re-entered the dining room shouting in a disappointed tone:

- Mommy, Mommy, there's no present for me in the fireplace! 

Marta, with a disguised laugh, took Pedrito by the hand and looking at everyone said:

- Let's see, the Christmas present I have received is you, my family, my dream achieved. 

At this, Pedrito, not understanding what was going on at the table, asked once again: 

-Mommy, Daddy, where's my present," and everyone burst out laughing.

The authorSantiago Populín Such

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