A Piece of Christmas by Susan McGee Bailey

December 18, 2014 § 14 Comments


rudolf-the-red-nosed-reindeerAnother holiday memory:

It’s Saturday, the thirteenth of December. Christmas is almost two weeks away and already my daughter’s excitement is closer to high anxiety than happy anticipation.  “I need a piece of Christmas now, Mother.  Right now!”

The next few days are going to be tough.

Since her birth more than forty years ago, Amy has survived complicated surgeries, spent months in rehab centers, and endured painful therapies. She is doing far better than many believed possible. But her world is the concrete, immediate world of childhood.

What can we do today that will help her gain a sense of control amid the pre-Christmas hype and clamor? Maybe a drive followed by breakfast out? A car ride won’t occupy the entire day, but it may get us off to a better start. Perhaps I’ll have another idea after a cup of coffee.

In the car Amy issues directions to familiar places with authoritative accuracy. “Turn here; look for horses; now go straight. Keep your ear on me! Amy knows the way!”

As we make the final turn before reaching Captain Marden’s, our favorite breakfast place, Amy gasps, “Mother, look! Look on my side!”  Several runners line the road.  Each is wearing some version of a Santa Claus outfit except one dressed entirely in brown and waving chubby arms. A gingerbread man? A teddy bear?

“It’s Rudolf, Mother! He’s showing all the Santa Clauses how he runs!”

I consider disagreeing. The runner looks like a gingerbread man to me.

Amy interrupts.  “Oh, Mother, I love Rudolf! Can we find another piece of Christmas tomorrow?”

My gloom evaporates. Amy is right. She’s found a piece of Christmas. Who’s to say another one won’t come along tomorrow?

__

Susan McGee Bailey lives in Wellesley, MA where she directed the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College for twenty-five years. She studies writing with a small group in Brookline and takes creative nonfiction classes at Grub Street in Boston. Her work has appeared in academic journals, Ms. Magazine and The Women’s Review of Books.

§ 14 Responses to A Piece of Christmas by Susan McGee Bailey

  • I am so happy to see this piece by Susan McGee Bailey. Susan’s considered breath opens the door to her daughter’s response. Lovely.

  • Susan McGee Bailey says:

    Thanks, Sandell! And so good to be in touch.

  • Marilyn connor says:

    How joyful to read as the 100 hour countdown begins for Christmas.
    Will be looking for a piece of Christmas everywhere I go 🎅🎄 love to you and Amy

  • Carol Langdon Kohankie says:

    What a lovely tribute to your beloved daughter Amy!!! I remember you as being so gracious and serene and your writing reflect these qualities today. Blessing to you both.

  • Carol E. Lewis says:

    Oh Susan! What a wonderful story. Rudolph the red-nosed gingerbear! Thank you and Amy for keeping things new and fresh.

  • csenghas says:

    An exquisite moment! Yes, a piece of Christmas! Sending love and best wishes to you and Amy in the holiday season.

  • Steven Biondolillo says:

    Well done! Gem of a story and a great reminder!

  • Patricia Napier says:

    Ah, just another one of your talents! What a little gem of a story. We were in the car with you.

    Pat Napier

  • Joanne says:

    Classic Amy! A delightful vignette Susan.

  • Anthony Measham says:

    Lovely, lovely story. What a talent you have to taking us into the moment. Love to you and Amy for Christmas and for 2015. Tony and Carol

  • ruthnemzoff says:

    Insights from the kids, goes on for a lifetime! How wise Amy is! We all need a bit of Christmas that is joy every day!

  • M. Ferguspm says:

    Susan–you have heard much about my knowledge of computers but with any luck this will reach you. I’m constantly amazed with the progress you have made with Amy, the Joys you share with her and the happiness you share with her. I wish you both a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Love to both of you. Mina

  • Patrick Cacchione says:

    Susan, a beautiful story that is beautifully written. You captured all of Amy’s charm and wisdom and all of your grace and love. I miss you both!

  • Nancy Alvey says:

    Kelly, so many years since I’ve seen you and Amy, yet your lovely story reconnected me with your grace and clarity and Amy’s enthusiasm and wonder. Abrazos, Nancy

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