WHY I STILL BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS
Even when I was very young, I felt beauty in the pit of my stomach. A painful twisting that made me lace my fingers together and hold my hands tightly over my tummy. The warmth of my skin always seems to help in those situations. On this particular night, I had tiptoed, without breathing, into my parents’ bedroom and was standing staring out of the window with my mouth open and my eyes almost as big as the silver moon in the sky. The moon looked so strange, encircled by a glowing halo, and thick snow covered the garden and the fields beyond for as far as my eyes could see. It sparkled like diamond dust.
It really doesn’t snow very often in England, and white Christmases are rare. The snow had not been there when I went to bed.
Five minutes earlier, I had been lying in my bunk, desperately trying to sleep. If Santa knew I was awake, he wouldn’t leave me anything! This, I believed, in the very depths of my soul. But I was so wide awake! Could I fool him? Could I lie there still enough? I didn’t know.
And then I heard it. From what seemed like far, far away.
Not church bells… sleigh bells.
My eyes shot open. There was no sign of stuffed stockings and he was obviously still quite a way away. I got out of bed very quietly and tiptoed into my parents’ room.
Even now, I can picture that magical scene indelibly etched on my memory. The light of the moon bouncing sparks of glitter off the snow. Not a footprint in sight. It was perfect! Then, as I stood there, faint because I had neglected to breathe for so long, I saw something in the sky.
The sound of bells got louder and there, entering my peripheral vision from the left, was Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, soaring through the empty sky.
I stayed there for as long as I dared, then tiptoed back to bed, heart almost bursting with joy.
In the morning, when I awoke, I told myself I must have dreamed it, although I knew deep down that I had been blessed to see something few children ever do.
My little Christmas miracle.
And we were on an island in the never-ending snow.