Katie stood in line to see Santa holding her daddy’s hand, swinging it out and swinging it in. An adorable green eyed, curly haired brunette with an impish smile and all of five.
“Daddy, how much longer?” She pleaded impatiently, standing on her daddys feet and reaching for the middle of his sweater to pull him down to her level.
“Only two more people sweetie, see, one, two… and then KATIE!”
“Yeah, Katie!” She said clapping her hands.
“Do you remember what you are going to ask Santa for, Katie?” Her Daddy quizzed.
“A baby doll. A Trampolina doll like Mommy has. Where did mommy put her baby doll daddy, I want to hold it?”
“I don’t know sweetie, I haven’t seen it.”
Katie thought about Mommy and her doll. Mommy had let her hold it a couple of times. She remembered that Mommy had it in a box somewhere. She kept it there because it was really old and it had been Mommy’s Christmas present from Santa when she was little. She was going to give it to her when she was just a little bit bigger. Katie knew she was big enough now.
Finally it was Katie’s turn to see Santa. She ran and jumped on his lap. Some ladies were talking with Daddy and he was paying them to have her picture taken.
“Hi Santa. Remember me? I’m Katie.”
“I do. I do. My Katie you have gotten so big! How old are you now?” Santa asked.
Katie held up five fingers for him.
“Five. What a big girl you are! Have you been a good girl all year?”
Katie nodded her head yes and seemed to get suddenly shy.
“What does Katie want Santa to bring her this year?”
“Look this way Santa! Katie! Look here sweetie. Wave to Daddy!”
Katie looked up and over at her Daddy and the lady wearing the funny antlers. She smiled showing two big dimples and then immediately turned back to Santa. The flash went off and amid a round of “aahs”.
“Santa, I need a Trampolina doll like my Mommy’s if you got one because I really, really, really want it.”
“A Trampolina doll?” Santa questioned.
“Yeah. A baby Trampolina doll like Mommy’s.”
“I will sure do my best Katie.” Santa was a little bit confused. He had not heard of a Trampolina doll before. He bent over to reach for a small candy cane and handed it to Katie standing her back up.
“Anything else sweetie?” He asked.
“Can you bring me Mommy down from heaven? Just for a minute to say hi?” The toddler asked innocently.
“I sure will try Katie.” Santa said touching her cheek with his gloved hand.
“Thanks Santa. I will have your cookies out and carrots for your reindeer ok?”
“Ok. Katie. Merry Christmas!”
Katie beamed at Santa and ran back to her Daddy who was admiring his new photo of Katie and Santa.
“Let me see, let me see!” She begged.
The next day was Christmas Eve and it was a busy day for Katie and her daddy. She helped him wrap presents and then Grandma and Grandpa came and the house started smelling really good. Grandma was cooking and Daddy was so happy! Katie helped her Grandma make cookies and she even fixed Santa’s plate all by herself. After super it was dark and she ended up in Grandpa’s lap rocking and reading stories. Mommy used to read her stories.
The news came on and said that Santa had been spotted on the weather map in Jacksonville. Katie who had been dozing in Grandpa’s lap set straight up in the chair.
“I gotta go to bed, right now! Ok? If Santa comes by and sees me up he won’t bring me anything, so tuck me in let’s go! C’mon Grandpa tuck me in, ok?”
“Ok, let’s go Katie.” He said smiling picking her up in his arms and tickling her.
Everybody tucked Katie in bed and kissed her goodnight. They all stood around her “big girl bed” and sang “Rudolph” and “Silent Night”. Then they all said prayers. Katie was really tired, but excited. Tonight Santa would come and bring her lots of toys and maybe bring her Trampolina.
When it was really dark and really quiet in the night Katie got up and crept to the living room. She just could not sleep anymore! She knew everyone else was asleep so crept out being really quiet. The Christmas tree was beautifully lit and millions and millions of presents surrounded the tree! Katie wondered how Santa got all these in his sleigh. She checked the milk and cookie plate and it was clean, except for a few crumbs.
There was a new bike, and a Barbie car and some new Barbie’s. A little blackboard and some chalk with a desk, and a big stuffed white bear. Katie peered around quietly fumbling through the boxes, but where was Trampolina?
Suddenly from the doorway in the hall Katie heard something and she turned and jumped a little. Somebody had caught her out here by the presents!
“Katie? Katie come over here!” The voice whispered.
“Mommy?” Katie peered into the hall. At first all she could see was a faint light, but it started to grow a little brighter. It was near the hall closet. “Mommy?” She said again.
“Katie? Here baby. Don’t be afraid come open the door.” The voice said softly.
Katie was not afraid for some reason. She had asked to see Mommy for Christmas, but why was she in the closet? She ran over and opened the hall closet door. It was full of warm white light, but no light switch was on. Katie stood there a minute and then again asked, “Mommy? Where are you? I can’t see you?”
“I’m here sweetie. Look in the box under those old books in the corner.” She urged.
Katie saw the old books and pushed the pile over. There was a box that looked kind of old, a big sturdy cardboard one.
“Mommy, where are you? Are you in this box?” Katie bent down whispering to the box.
“No Katie, I am right here with you. Pull it out in to the hall and open it sweetie.” The voice continued to urge.
Katie pulled the old box out and opened the lid. There wrapped in a baby blanket and tissue paper was her Mommy’s treasured doll.
“Trampolina!” She squealed in delight picking up the baby from her box.
“Her name is Themalina, or whatever you want to name her Kate’um’s.” The voice laughed.
Katie knew it was Mommy then because only Mommy called her Kate’um’s, and only Mommy had that certain little laugh.
“Am I big enough now?” Katie said gleefully asking the light in the closet holding the doll tenderly in her arms.
“Yes, baby you are big enough. You are my big girl and I love you very, very much.”
“I love you to Mommy. I will take good care of Them-a-leena.” Katie whispered back to the closet.
“Take care of Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa too for me ok baby?”
“Ok, Mommy. Thanks for my baby. Is Santa in there with you? She asked the light in the closet starting to fade.
“Yes, Katie. Santa is with me. Now off to bed goofy! Santa and I watch you all the time! I am always with you. So be good!”
“Merry Christmas Mommy. I love you.” Katie said shutting the closet slowly.
“Merry Christmas sweetheart. I love you so much.” The light slowly faded away.
Katie stood there for a minute. Then she noticed a smell. Mommy’s smell. It was the perfume that mommy always wore. She held the baby doll close to her hugging it, then holding it back a little she whispered. “ Trampolina you smell like Mommy. I am bigger and I will take good care of you.”
Katie kissed the doll and held her tight to her again. She stood a few seconds longer in the dark, looking at the closet and then turning to look back at the beautifully lighted Christmas tree.
“Thank you Santa. Thank you Jesus. Merry Christmas.”
Then quick as a little bunny Katie ran down the hall to Mommy and Daddy’s room opening the door in the dark and still running ran straight for daddy and jumped up on his bed.
“Daddy, Daddy, wake up! Look what Mommy gave me for Christmas!”
Caryn M. Day-Suarez
2nd Runner up - Florida Times Union Christmas Contest - 12/2001
Copyrighted Caryn Day-Suarez