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Christmas Coming of Age American

With Christmas only two days away, the Lawrence household was beyond chaotic. Mrs. Lawrence and her sister were out shopping for those last few Christmas gifts and without them 18-year-old Jase was having quite a time keeping his young cousins in check. Being an only child, he was unaccustomed to such a laborious workout as this. Playing basketball was one thing, dealing with screaming little kids running in circles around him was entirely another.

None too soon the door was pushed open, and the two women blew in with the snow. Bags of gifts nearly fell out of their arms; it took both of them to shut the door. Simultaneously they took a deep breath before entering the kitchen.

Jase quickly unloaded their burden and then escaped to his bedroom upstairs. The silence gathered around him, and he let out a sigh of relief. He liked his cousins but sometimes they could be a handful.

In a moment he sat down at his desk and flipped out his laptop. Some relaxing music would be perfect. As he browsed some violin songs the notification bell rang, and he glanced over to see who had messaged him.

He froze.

The name Phoebe Dotson danced in front of him, cutting through his peaceful life with a steak knife.

His birth mother.

Jase’s parents had made certain that he grew up knowing that he was adopted and why. Phoebe's husband was killed in a car accident two months after their wedding and she had no way to take care of Jase, so she put him up for adoption before he was ever born;

choosing Sam and Christina Lawrence to be the parents. But now Jase had no idea how he was supposed to feel. His parents had let him know that he could contact her now that he

was of age, but . . .

He clicked on it.


Jason, I know you probably don’t want to hear from me, but I want to hear from you. I’m your birth mom. Could we meet for Christmas?


He had made up his mind years ago not to be mad at her, but did she really think he would give up spending Christmas with his family when he didn’t even know what she was like?

After a minute he regained control over himself and wrote back.


Phoebe Dotson, I’m gonna need time to think. This is quite a surprise.


She asked if she could keep writing to him and he figured it was the least he could do. Now the question was, Do I say anything to mom? He was quite aware of how she was when they had visitors.

********

That night he folded his laptop and leaned back rubbing his eyes. He had been conversing with his birth mom since just after supper. He felt more confused than ever. She seemed so nice.

Standing he wondered if he should even bother trying to sleep. It was late and he might as well.

Climbing under the covers his thoughts remained on his foreign longing to meet this woman that had everything to do with his life. He started to doze but the phone rang so loud even his well-insulated walls didn’t block it out. He jolted to a sitting position. Only bad news came that late.

He found himself hurrying downstairs in his pajamas and waiting anxiously next to the phone table as his aunt’s face turned from white to gray. He bit his lip and glanced at the clock. It read eleven-thirty.

Finally, his aunt said a shaky goodbye and set the phone down.

“Well, what is it?” Jase asked, a little louder than necessary.

“Your grandfather had a stroke.” She didn’t look at him as she spoke. “I need to go pack.”

She flew past, nearly knocking into Mrs. Lawrence in her hurry. Jase saw them talking for a minute and then his aunt slipped into the guest room and his mom put an arm around his shoulders.

“You going too?” He wondered.

She shook her head. “I’ll stay here with your cousins.”

He nodded wordlessly.

*********

Morning came too soon but there was no avoiding it. Trying not to think, he climbed out of his bed and into his clothes. When the breakfast call sounded, he slowly made his way to the kitchen counter, wishing he was hungry.

His seven-year-old cousin stumbled onto the seat next to him. “Where’s mom?”

Jase gave his mom a helpless look and she rescued him.

“She is spending Christmas with your grandfather.” Then quietly to her son. “Can we talk in my room?”

He glanced around nervously and then nodded. He followed her and sat down in his father’s brown rocking chair that he knew his mother abhorred. But, with his father in the military, she kept it around as a reminder that he would be coming home.

“Jase, you’re 18 now.”

He expected her to go on, but she didn’t.

“Um, yeah.”

She shook her head and smiled. “You can contact Phoebe Dotson, your birth mother.”

What now? He hoped his face didn’t show too much. “I have.”

“What?”

“Actually, she contacted me. She wants me to come for Christmas, but I told her . . . I was having Christmas with you and dad.”

“Oh, Jase. You’ve had Christmas with us for 18 years!”

“I know, but I barely ever get to see dad any other time.”

She was silent for a moment. “It’s entirely your choice . . . but . . . don’t you want to meet her? I mean you aren’t mad at her, are you?”

“No! Of course not.” He shifted in the worn chair. “Don’t you want me here for Christmas?”

“We’re gonna always want you with us, you know that. However, I’m excited about you meeting her. She deserves this.”

There was a long moment of silence. “Okay.”

His mom let out a squeal of delight. “I’ll tell your dad.”

He couldn’t help but smile.

*********

For the first time Jase was leaving their home state alone. He had emailed Phoebe to let him know he was coming. He felt slightly guilty about being so excited when his grandfather had just had a stroke, but a phone call from his mom shortly after his bus left

the station set his thoughts at ease. It had been only a small stroke and though Jase’s aunt was staying down there for a while he was going to be fine.

When the bus stopped, Jase jumped out, scanning the crowd. He had exchanged pictures with his birth mom and now he spotted her face through the crowd. He caught her eye and waved, making his way toward her. She looked hesitant to move so he grabbed her in a warm embrace. She began crying.

After a long moment they released each other.

“You’re . . . you’re not mad at me?” She sniffed.

He shook his head and hugged her again.

A long moment went by without either speaking. Then he searched her face, his green eyes dancing. “Thank you, mom.”

This brought another round of tears. “I shouldn’t have taken you away from your family.”

“You are my family.”

She smiled and wiped her eyes. “You should go back for Christmas.”

He would’ve disagreed at once but something in her eyes held him.

“Only if you come too. I want you to be there.”

********

Jase joyfully watched his cousins playing as he sat in between his two moms. Each one was thinking similar thoughts. Life could really change fast! Then he heard the sound he had been waiting for. The door sliding inward and the heavy boots knocking snow off. Jase jumped up and rushed through the kitchen and into his dad’s arms.

“Hey, hey, I thought you were spending Christmas with your birth mother.”

Jase smiled, wider than ever before. “I am.”


The End

December 25, 2022 19:29

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2 comments

Wendy Kaminski
02:46 Jan 02, 2023

What an uplifting story for the holidays! Thank you so much for sharing it! :)

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Mary Ann Ford
17:39 Jan 02, 2023

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Wendy!

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