It was the night before Christmas...
The little girl had been celebrating Christmas with her extended family at her Grandmothers house. The whole family had come together to meet and they always had a great time.
It was a large family and there were lots of children, so there was no shortage of cousins to play with.
The Grandmother stood at her gas stove baking pies and chickens and saucepans full of vegetables happily boiled and bubbled away on the stove. Grandma would make her own yummy home made gravy and the little girl would dunk a big chunk of bread in it and sop it all up and eat it. Memories of her Grandmothers kitchen always made her smile.
Before everyone had arrived for the celebration, the little girl and her Grandmother would have spent hours making meat pies and with the left over scraps of pastry the little girl was allowed to make tiny little jam tarts. She would spoon oversized ammounts of sticky, strawberry or blackberry jam onto the pastry and then all by herself....and being very careful not to burn her fingers she would be allowed to put her little creations into the oven.
The little girl loved these family events. She loved to play with her two girl cousins in particular. They were almost the same age and they loved to play with their dolls and chat about what Santa would bring them for Christmas.
The little girls would sit on a small balcony on the side of their Grandmother's home and drop their little legs over the side. They would happily chatter and laugh and pretend they were on a boat and if their feet touched the ground then the shark in the water would gobble their toes. They would almost believe their own story. They would dare each other to be the first one to touch the ground and then they would all laugh their heads off in delight.
These very good times !
Inside the house, the adults would sit and talk. The Aunties would all be in the kitchen chattering away. There would periodically be squeals of laughter coming out of the room and there was lots of tea constantly being made. The Grandmother would stand at her stove and bask in the happiness. It was her greatest joy in life to have her whole family all together under the same roof.
The children all played outside. There was a cricket match going on in the backyard and all of the boys were playing like it was a test series. They were yelling and running and having a great old time of it all.
The uncles were in the loungeroom, they would be watching a game on the television and cracking jokes and having a few beers. Stories of work and other things that men talk about would be discussed. The Grandmother would love to stand in the doorway to this room and watch her sons all talking and being together. The very simple things in life made her happy. The love of her family made her world go round. They were her whole life and she would do absolutely anything for them.
When it was meal time there would be bodies everywhere in the kitchen. Tiny fingers took plates off the table and Aunties would help them to fill up their plates. The children would then scoot off outside to sit and eat their Christmas meal. There would never have been enough seats around the table inside to sit at for this family. Little bottles of soft drink that had been handed out by their Grandmother were happily slurped away through bright coloured straws.
Christmas was such a wonderful time of the year.
The family were all together.
After Christmas dinner, the children would begin to look longingly at the Christmas tree. They would tug at their mothers sleeve begging for them to be allowed to open the gifts from their Aunties and Uncles and Grandmother.
When the adults agreed there would be a mad rush in the back door with bodies dashing towards the tree to find their gifts. Afterwards the children would go outside to play with their new treasures.
After a while, tired little eyes would appear one by one and mentions of Santa coming would be heard.
Washing up was done and then one by one hugs and kisses would be exchanged and the families would all go home to settle in for the night.
It was on a night like this that something very special would happen to the young girl.......
A very sleepy pair of little children were sitting in the back of the car. The father was driving home from their Grandmother's house and the mother was sitting there thinking about all of the things she had to do when she arrived home.
The little boy had dropped off to sleep but the little girl was oh to excited to go to sleep. She was frightened that because it was so late that Santa may have already visited their home and because they hadn't been there then he hadn't left any toys for them.
All she wanted to do was to run up the front steps to her home and to crawl in bed before he arrived. 'please hurry up and get home' she thought to herself.
It was almost as if Santa himself had heard her thoughts....
As her father turned their car into their street she let out a cry !
SANTA HIMSELF WAS WALKING DOWN THE TOP OF HER STREET !!!!
Oh my goodness she would have to move like the wind. If she could have sprouted wings and flown there she would have already been tucked up in her little bed with her eyes glued shut.
Her mother and father saw him with their own eyes as well.
The little girls eyes were as wide as saucers......it was Santa....he REALLY was here !!!
Her father pulled over to the side of the road along side of where Santa was walking.
The little girls heart was beating almost clean out of her chest. She had never seen such an amazing thing in all of her life. Her little girl cousins would be so wishing that they had been there at this very moment.
Her father softly spoke to Santa.
Santa looked into the car and said that we'd better be quick and get home to bed because very soon he would be reaching their home. He said that he had parked the sleigh in the street around the corner and the reindeers were having a drink of water and nibbling on the grass.
They had had a big evening and were happy to be resting. Santa held his huge sack of toys over his shoulder and with a wink he turned away. 'HO HO HO' could be heard and his bell that he carried could be heard ringing all of the way down the street.
the little girls feet barely touched the ground when her father parked their car. She was up the stairs and into the bath before you knew it. Her mother came in to check on her only to find that the little girl was already dressed and tucked into bed.
'goodnight Mummy,' was all her mother heard as she closed the door and turned out the light. 10 seconds later she had fallen into dreamland where visions of Santa and his sack of toys welcomed her.
The rest of the story is history. We all know that the little girl would wake up the next morning and her and her brother would happily charge down the stairs to the Christmas tree where they would find surprises from Santa and they would have an amazing time of it all.
NOWDAYS this little girl watches her own children enjoy the joy of Christmas. She watches their faces as they play with their own cousins and eat delicious meals around their Grandparents tables. There aren't as many cousins to play with, but the love and the happiness is certainly there. The love the family has for each other is precious and the happiness on her own childrens faces as they wake up to see the gifts left by Santa makes her so very happy.
Christmas is about children and family and fun and enjoyment. It's about treasuring the company of the ones we love and appreciating all that family does for each other.
The beautiful Grandmother left the earth many years ago now but her heart beats on inside of the little girl. The gift of love that she gave the little girl has never left. Her beautiful blue eyes twinkle on as diamonds in the sky. The little girl who has now all grown up looks up at those sparkly diamonds in the sky and knows that her grandmother is only a thought away.........
Merry Christmas to my beautiful Grandmother up in heaven. I sit here now enjoying a hot cup of tea that your great grandaughter just made for me and I wish you were here to enjoy one too. We could eat sao biscuits with cheese and tomato and play a game of cards and talk about good times.
There isn't a day in my life that I don't think of the love that you gave me. May you be sitting up there on a cloud watching your family from afar and know how much we all love you.