“Singing with Great-Grandma,” Friend, Dec. 2005, 22–23
Cheery music plays on the radio. Colored lights twinkle on our Christmas tree, and lighted candles gleam in the kitchen. The smell of homemade pizza slowly fills the house.
I feel like jumping and squealing, but Mommy asks, “Will you please set the table?” So I set seven places—one each for me, Mommy, Daddy, Great-Grandma, Uncle Phil, Heather, and Stacie. Tonight they are coming for dinner. After we eat, I can play with my cousins until bedtime. I can’t wait to show them my favorite dolls!
Soon the doorbell rings. Uncle Phil helps Great-Grandma through the door. “What are you doing up so early?” he teases in his loud, jolly voice. I giggle. He always says this, even when it’s late. Great-Grandma kisses me on the cheek and says, “Hello, sweetheart.” She always says this too.
I sit between my cousins, and Daddy asks a blessing on the food. We eat and laugh, and I am happy that Mommy has saved me five whole olives. I put them on my fingertips, then eat each olive one by one.
After dinner, I tug Stacie’s arm. “Do you want to play dolls?” She shakes her head and follows Uncle Phil into the living room. “Will you play dolls with me?” I whisper to Heather. But she follows Stacie.
“Let’s sing Christmas carols!” Mommy says, pulling back the piano bench. Laughing and clapping, we sing “Jingle Bells” as loud as we can. We sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Deck the Halls.” I don’t know all the words, so I hum and clap until I’m tired.
“Do you want to play dolls now?” I ask Stacie.
“No,” she says. “I want to keep singing with Great-Grandma.”
My throat feels tight. Soon big tears roll down my cheeks.
“What’s the matter?” Daddy asks, leading me away from the piano.
“I want to play with Heather and Stacie,” I cry. “I’m bored!”
“But, sweetie,” Daddy says, “Great-Grandma would be bored without you.”
I frown and wipe my eyes.
“See how happy she is,” Daddy says. “She loves you. She likes spending this special time with us, singing her favorite songs.”
I watch Great-Grandma sing. She smiles at me, her eyes shining like twinkling Christmas lights. I walk over to the couch and snuggle next to her. “Hello, sweetheart,” she whispers, putting her arm around me.
Mommy starts playing “Silent Night,” and I sing along.
I don’t want to jump and squeal anymore. But I don’t want to cry either. Playing dolls doesn’t sound as fun as I listen to our reverent voices. I feel calm, happy, and warm—like gleaming candles on a winter night.