A holiday that was supposed to be one of the best for little 4-year-old Sean, turned out to be the worst Thanksgiving this young boy would remember. His mother, Nikki, took him to his room and sat him down on his race car bed. She knew that he would not want to stand after he heard what she had to tell him.
"Sean," she said softly and slowly, not wanting to say what was to come next, "Daddy won't be coming home tomorrow like I said he would be." Sean just stared at her, not comprehending what his mother meant.
"I don't understand, why won't he be coming home? I miss him and I want to see him, so he has to come home!" Sean looked sad when he told his mom this.
Nikki lowered her head and a tear formed slowly in the corner of her eye. "Sean, daddy was shot last night. He died from the bullet. Jesus decided that he wanted daddy all for himself; he didn't want to share him with us anymore." The little boy threw himself on the bed, buried his face in his pillows and started to scream.
"But daddy is supposed to be all mine! I don't want to share him with anyone! He is my dad, no one else's dad, so why do I have to share him!" Nikki, not knowing what to do or how to help her son, scooped up Sean and just held him close. She tried everything that she could think of to help him and to comfort him, none of which seemed to work.
The next day, they both tried to eat their Thanksgiving dinner in the comfort of their family. Not even the delicious food seemed to fill the empty void that was in the pit of their stomachs. Nothing made them feel any better. The family, not knowing what to say or how to act, kept saying "It will be okay," and "it won't hurt as much as time goes on."
Two weeks later, Nikki was talking to Sean, "Sean, Christmas is only a few weeks away and you still haven't written a note for Santa Claus. How will he know what to get you if you don't write to him?"
"I know, Mom, I just really don't want any toys or anything. I don't know what I want. I'll write him a note for you to mail out." Later in the day, Nikki walked in to her bedroom and on her bed laid a neatly folded piece of paper. She opened it very carefully and the words on that note made her jaw drop and her eyes tear up. She couldn't believe what she had just seen. The note had only one sentence in it: "Santa, I want my daddy back, please."
Nikki knew that she could never get her son this gift, though she wished she could. The night of Christmas Eve came, and Sean and Nikki were walking out of midnight Mass. She told Sean, "when we get home, get ready for bed so that Santa can come and drop off all your presents."
"I only asked for one thing, Mom, and I don't think that Santa can fit it down the chimney. It would have to be a big box. So will you help him get it in the front door for me?"
The mom looked at her son with sorrow-filled eyes, knowing his present would never be delivered,"Yes, Sean. I would love to help Santa with your big box."
Sean went home and went to bed. Nikki got all of her neatly wrapped gifts out of their usual hiding spots. She said quietly to herself, "Getting all of these downstairs will be really hard to do by myself." She found herself then wanting the same present as her son wanted. She hoped that by some miracle it could happen.
She finally got all the presents set under the tree all nicely, proud of her doing it all alone. "Ahh, done. Finally," she said to herself. She quietly crept upstairs and crawled into an empty bed.
The next morning Sean runs into Nikki's room and jumps all over her bed, "Mommy! It's Christmas! Wake up, we need to see what Santa brought us!"
"Okay, okay. Let's go and see everything that we got," she told him. She knew the she did not get anything, though.
As they looked at the tree, Sean looked both happy and disappointed. "Mom, I thought that you helped Santa bring in my big box. I don't see it anywhere."
"He didn't bring a big box. Everything that he brought fit down the chimney. He didn't need my help."
"Oh, okay." He sat down and slowly started to open his presents. He was happy with the results of all the gifts he got. "Mom, what is back there? It's hidden in the corner, behind the tree. Do you see it?"
Nikki got down on her hands and knees, trying very hard to look to where her son was pointing. "I don't think that I see anything, Sean. Oh, wait, I do see something. Two things, actually. Sean, crawl under the tree and grab them for me."
Sean listened, and he squeezed himself under all of the branches. He emerged with two very small packages, one in each hand.
"One is for you, Mom. Here it is." Nikki grabbed the box, which was very small, and very nicely wrapped. She looked confused and thought to herself, "I don't remember putting this under there last night."
She started to unwrap the little package, got the paper off and a small black velvety box appeared. It looked like a ring box, but who could have put the box behind the tree or even get in the house?
She opened the box and her heart jumped. "Oh my gosh! It can't be," was all she could manage to say. Inside the box, placed ever so perfectly, sat a plain silver ring. It was her husband's ring. He had been wearing it when he went to Iraq to fight. So how could it have gotten here, in this box, in my hands? She slowly pulled out the ring, and attached to it was a little piece of paper. It was neatly written in her husband's hand, "I love you dearly, Nikki, and I will be forever with you. I promise."
Close by her, Sean sat opening his own small package. He too had a black velvety box, yet it was a tiny bit bigger than his mother's. He didn't understand the meaning of the gift inside.
It was his father's necklace, the one his son had bought him for Christmas the year before. Sean took a moment or two to realize it was this. He stared at his mom and quietly asked, "Is this daddy's?"
Nikki looked at him, shocked by his gift too. "Yes, Sean, it is. Take it out of the box. It has a note."
Sean pulled out the necklace. It had a little paper hooked to it. "Sean, take care of this for me. I love and miss you son."
The two looked at each other, bewildered. Sean walked over to his mother and sat on her lap. He looked up at her and said, "I got my Christmas present after all. I may not have been able to see daddy, but I know that he is here."
"Yeah, he is here and he will look after us."