Archive for December 24th, 2021

Advent 2021 – December 24

December 24 – Drew

Drew looked at his wife fondly. “Well, shall we bring our own ornaments up?”

She took his hand. “Let’s.”

The crowd moved aside as they made their way to the tree. In a very odd way, Molly felt the entire afternoon had been building to this. She realized as they mounted the dias that she and Drew were the last two to bring up their ornaments. 

Up close, the tree was glorious. The myriad of precious ornaments that were scattered among the dark green needles and the lights glowed with more than just the fading sunlight. 

Jade looked down at them. “Saving the best for last,” she said, and although everyone could probably hear her, it felt as if it was just the three of them standing in the cool, clear air.

“Of course,” Drew said, giving her a grin. “We’re usually running a little late around this time of year.” He glanced at Molly, who nodded. The Christmas season was definitely her busy season.

“That’s not what I meant, at all,” Jade said. “But that’s not important. Do you have an ornament together?”

“No, we each brought one.” As Drew pulled his ornament out, to Molly’s surprise, the grey wrapped around her. For some reason, she’d thought that the visions would end when she and Drew went up.

She didn’t recognize the room that she stood in when the grey cleared. It was small, dimly lit by the lights that twinkled golden in the small tree that sat on a trunk covered with a white and red velvet cloth. The ornaments on the tree were blown glass and looked old.

Seated in a wingback chair was an older woman with long golden hair and deep amber eyes. Molly recognized her instantly as Phoebe, Drew’s grandmother.

As she watched, a small boy ran in from the hallway, his curly brown hair dusted with snow. “Grandma Phoebe! It’s Christmas Eve!”

“It is, my darling,” Phoebe said, pulling the boy onto her lap. “And you know what that means, right?”

Drew (and Molly realized he must be only 5 or 6, before his parents had died) nodded. “Santa will come on the pirate ship tonight!”

“Indeed!” Phoebe wiggled her long fingers at the tree, and golden light flowed from her fingertips. It rolled like lazy waves over to the tree, and a pirate ship bedecked with lights stirred from its hanger. It sailed over to Drew on the golden waves, and he smiled.

“And then, Grandma? After he brings the presents?”

“Then, my love, he will offer one special child the chance to sail with him until the sun rises.” Phoebe laid her cheek against Drew’s curls.

“Do you think I might go again?”

“I don’t know,” Phoebe said. “Perhaps one day, if you’re very good, you’ll get to go back and sail with him again.”

Molly blinked, astonished, and then she was back at the tree, watching Drew hand over the small pirate ship. “Because dreams do come true,” he said. “It just may take a while.”

Advent 2021 – December 23

December 23 – Schrodinger

I think it’s my turn.

Before Molly could respond, Schrodinger had trotted up to the tree. The CrossCat had carried his own ornament in a small bag that he now set at Jade’s feet.

The Snow Queen smiled down at him. “I can’t wait to see what you’ve chosen,” Jade said.

It was hard, Schrodinger admitted. It’s odd, because really, I’ve only been celebrating Christmas since I came to the Cove, at least in this way. We celebrated the Solstice in the lair, mostly because it is when the young kits are elevated to adult status. But Christmas- this is a uniquely human celebration, and one I can’t imagine going without now.

“You’ve become very cosmopolitan, ” Jade teased him gently. “I can’t imagine what your clan must think of your adventures. You must be quite the hero to them.”

The CrossCat snorted. More likely I’m a cautionary tale. Most CrossCats get farther than their first stop on their initial solo journey. 

“You wandered until you found home. Isn’t that what the journey is about?”

Yes. And that’s why I chose the ornament I did. He nudged open the bag and Molly was once again wrapped in grey.

When it cleared, she was back in the second floor apartment she and Schrodinger had shared when he had first come to Carter’s Cove, before she and Drew had gotten married and bought the farm. It had had a cozy living room, and she saw herself and Schrodinger sitting on the old sofa, lit only by the lights from their Christmas tree. 

“I brought you a present today,” Past-Molly said to the CrossCat snoozing next to her. His ears perked up as she handed him a small gift bag.

I thought we couldn’t open presents until Christmas Day!

Past-Molly laughed. “Usually, but this is a special present for you to open now.”

Scrodinger dipped his nose into the bag, moving aside tissue paper to pull out the small handpainted ornament she’d had specially made for him.

A large cat that looked like Schrodinger was perched on a snowbank, with a Santa hat on its head. Below in the snow were the words “Schrodinger’s First Christmas.”

When her eyes cleared again, Molly was back in the crowd, watching as the ornament was placed into the tree.
It was the first of many amazing Christmases with my chosen family, Schrodinger said, looking over at Molly and Drew. And I will echo what was said before: this is a place that welcomes everyone in, and makes them realize that home is the people and places you carry in your heart

Advent 2021 – December 22

December 22 – Lily and Kaylee

Once the candle had been lit, Brynna stepped back, and Molly’s nieces Lily and Kaylee stepped forward together. Their faces shone with excitement: they both adored both the Snow Queen and Old Man Winter. Molly wondered how long the negotiations had been over choosing ornaments. 

Jade smiled at the two girls, and Molly realized with a start that they were nearly as tall as the Snow Queen. In fact, Lily could look her straight in the eyes, and Kaylee wasn’t far behind.

“We decided to go together on an ornament,” Kaylee said. 

Lily nodded agreement. “Because one of the best things about the Christmas season is being together,” she said, and looked at Kaylee. “Okay?”

Kaylee reached into the pocket of her coat. The grey surrounded Molly and Schrodinger before she could see the ornament. 

When it cleared, both Molly and Schrodinger recognized the Barrett household. Molly’s parents owned a large rambling house on one of the many roads that meandered around Carter’s Cove, and until recently, it had been where the Barrett clan had celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The huge living room, filled with inviting couches and chairs, held not only the large tree, decorated with several generations’ worth of ornaments, but a fieldstone mantel over the fireplace. All the stockings were hung up, and since they were full, Molly guessed it must have been after Santa had come and gone.

“Shush!” A little voice said behind her, and Molly watched as a younger Lily, perhaps eight or nine, crept into the room, followed closely by her younger sister. “If we’re too loud, Dad will send us back to bed, and we won’t be able to see if it happened.”

Kaylee screwed up her face, pantomiming zipping her lips together, and Lily giggled a bit before she caught herself. The two paused, obviously checking to see if they’d be caught. When everything stayed quiet, they moved over to the window, and Molly suddenly realized what they were looking for.

There was an older stocking that had been in the Barrett family for as long as Molly could remember. The velvet loop was worn smooth, too fragile to be hung up when filled. Instead of being full now, it was empty, laid flat on an overstuffed chair, next to where the plate of cookies and a glass of milk sat. They too were empty.

Is that the orphan stocking? Schrodinger asked. 

“Yes,” Molly said, and as Kaylee reached out to touch it, the scene dissolved, and she was back, watching Kaylee hand the worn stocking.

“We leave this out every Christmas, full of mittens and scarves, for those who might not have some,” she said. “Mom and Dad help us collect them all year long, and then Santa takes them to give to those in need. We put some candy in each mitten, too.” She glanced at her sister, and Lily finished the thought.

“This year, we’re going to do a bag instead, because the stocking is getting too small. So we thought that it would go well on the tree.” Lily grinned. “It’s not exactly traditional to hang a stocking on a tree, but since Carter’s Cove isn’t exactly traditional…”

“It’s wonderful!” Jade said, taking the stocking gently.