Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing, Writing Prompts

Short Story Sunday 141: Sunday Morning

            It was such a long week for Amy. This was the first year the Christmas holiday was going to be spent at her house. It was her idea to host the holiday. Usually Christmas was spent at her mother’s house, but unfortunately this was the first Christmas without her mother. Her older sister lived two hours away. She didn’t want to host it because it made more sense for her to come to them rather than have the whole family go to her house. Amy’s younger sister lived in a one-bedroom apartment that could barely fit herself and her cats. Her brother still lived in his dorm at college.

Amy wanted to do Christmas, even though she didn’t have much of a choice to begin with. She was excited to carry on some of her mother’s traditions as well as make her own with her kids and the family as a whole. However, she didn’t realize how much stress was going to come along with it.

Normally Amy just had to bake a couple of Christmas pies to bring to her mother’s house and shop for gifts from her, her husband, and the kids, to everyone else the family. Once that was done she could focus on shopping for her own children from Santa.

Amy worked full time while the kids were at school. She had school hours so she was able to be home when the kids were home, but unless she was able to get a babysitter, she couldn’t do much shopping or preparing for Christmas while she and the kids were home together.

Jim, her husband, went away for a business trip the end of the first week of December. Normally he was around to help her out, but it was either he went on the trip then or he wasn’t going to be home for Christmas.

So it was a week before the official holiday. Amy was running around like a headless chicken trying to get the house in order—cleaning, getting the decorations put up, baking, and cooking. She also had so many errands to run—buying gifts for everyone, getting ingredients to cook and bake, and getting even more decorations if need be. Oh, and a gingerbread house. The kids suddenly wanted to start a new tradition and build a gingerbread house with their cousins on Christmas morning.

As soon as Jim made it home from the airport, Amy gave him a quick kiss hello and then goodbye as she dropped the kids on his lap and she ran for the door. She shivered as she sat down in her car. She immediately turned on the heat and her seat warmers rubbing her gloved hands together.

Christmas was in a week and the temperature was ridiculously low. The least the weather could do was make it snow. All her mother ever wanted was a white Christmas. Sometimes she got it, sometimes she didn’t. Since she wasn’t going to be there, Amy wished it would snow so bad.

The mall was mobbed as it always was the week before Christmas. Amy circled around the parking lot for about twenty minutes before someone finally pulled out of their spot and she was able to nab it before any other cars came circling around. She pushed and shoved her way through the various stores as people brushed by her on either side. Sometimes she would get stuck walking behind people who moved as slow as a snail muddling through peanut butter. Then she would get really frustrated.

And the traffic. The traffic was always horrendous no matter where she was going, no matter what time of day it was. While she seemed to always be in a hurry, she dealt with the traffic. There was no sense in getting upset over something she couldn’t control, but it always angered her when other people would lay on their horns or block intersections simply because they were too impatient to wait another round of red lights.

Day in and day out for the whole week before Christmas, Amy constantly ran errands, tried to keep up with the cleaning of her house, and tried to bake and cook some food in advance. She was always cold and she hated the cold weather. If she was going to be this cold, then the weather should have the decency to snow.

Not that she particularly cared for snow, either. She hated shoveling, hated brushing the snow and scraping the ice off of her car, and hated it when the kids had snow days.

Yet, every morning she looked out her window and frowned when she realized there was no snow on the ground for her late mother.

Christmas Eve came sooner than Amy hoped it would. She and Jim took the kids to church and then they went home to eat dinner and watch a Christmas movie. They then hung all their stocking up by the fireplace, set out the milk and cookies for Santa, and then Jim and Amy tucked the kids into bed, who were all too excited to sleep.

Amy always waited about two hours before placing Santa’s gifts under the tree. She wanted to make sure the kids were truly in a deep sleep. She couldn’t trust any of them.

She would take that time to do any extra wrapping or baking for the following morning. She would spot clean the house to make sure that it was fully prepared and in ready condition for the mob of company that was going to walk through her front door around noon that next day.

It was well past midnight when Jim put a hand on her shoulder. “I’ll put the presents under the tree. You go to bed.”

Amy had five more cupcakes to frost. She let out a massive yawn. “In a minute,”

“No, you said that two hours ago. Go to bed.”

Jim untied the strings from the apron Amy was wearing. The apron had her name stitched in the middle, though it belonged to her mother, the first Amy.

Jim brought the apron up and over Amy’s head and she stuck her tongue out at him as she continued to frost the cupcakes. Jim took the spreader out of her hand and placed it down on the counter. Then he took the cupcake and put it back on the cooling rack.

“Go to bed.” He said in a more stern tone.

Amy sighed, defeated. She’ll just have to set her alarm for an hour earlier so she could finish up. No big deal.

The moment Amy laid in bed and her head hit the pillow, she was immediately out cold.

She awoke the next morning, not to her alarm, but to Jim standing over her with a large mug of steaming coffee. Amy sat herself up rubbing her eyes.

“What time is it?” she goaned.

“Six in the morning. I started to hear the kids rustling upstairs, so I thought I would beat them to waking you up.” Jim replied handing her the coffee.

Amy took a sip and then her eyes grew wide. She looked at the clock. “I set the alarm for four-thirty!”

“I know. I shut it off.” Jim chuckled. He sat down on the edge of the bed slurping his own coffee. Amy could smell the French vanilla wafting from his Santa mug.

“Why would you do that?” Amy glared at him.

“You needed the extra rest. It’s Christmas, you need to relax. I thought I would let you sleep in as much as you could before the kids pounce on us.” Jim explained.

Amy sighed. She knew he was right, but there was still so much that she had to do.

“I finished everything for you last night.” Jim put a hand on her knee knowing exactly what she was thinking. “Now, before we go get the kids and surprise them that we’re actually awake before them, go look out the window.”

Amy’s eyes grew wide again. Oh, no, had their company already started arriving? She wasn’t even dressed!

Amy pulled the blankets off of her lap and stood up from the bed. She gripped onto her reindeer mug tightly taking little sips as she walked over to the other side of her bedroom. She pulled the blind up and gasped.

Jim smiled. “Merry white Christmas.”

Words: 1,395

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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

12 thoughts on “Short Story Sunday 141: Sunday Morning

  1. Didn’t get around to reading this until after Christmas, but it is beautifully written. It was 80 degrees here in Texas Christmas Day. The neighbor’s kids were in their pool Christmas afternoon.
    It’s stories like yours that remind me of the magic of waking up to a white Christmas as a kid growing up in Virginia. Thank you.

    1. Wow! I don’t like the cold, but I can’t imagine not having a white Christmas. That said, it was about 50 degrees here. No snow, but there’s always next year.

      1. I’ve never been a lucky anything to anyone. As a matter of fact when a team I am following on TV gets going good and taking the lead, I leave the room so I won’t jinx it!

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