All I Want For Christmas is You

You are the angel atop my tree
You are my dream come true
Santa can't bring me what I need
'Cuz all I want for Christmas is you
    Vince Vance & the Valiants (click)

She was my dream come true, my Christmas angel, born just ten days before Christmas, 1982.  We brought her home from the hospital, lovingly swaddled in a handmade blanket, and placed her under our Christmas tree, the greatest gift.

Twenty-nine years, and seven months later, I received a simply worded text message, sent from the number I recognized as my daughter's phone, indicating that she'd passed away. In utter disbelief, I reread the text, checked the number, and read the text again.   

Only an hour before, while driving home from the city, I'd called that number, left a heartfelt voicemail, and requested a return call. The text message I received, came as I was slowing to exit the freeway. Gut-punched, I kept my wits about me long enough to safely pull the car off the roadway.

Our daughter was seven months pregnant, a horse trainer and riding instructor.  It was conceivable, that she'd had an accident, been kicked or thrown from a horse.  I tried to stop my heart from racing - to catch my breath. My only thought, not my baby!

Ten minutes later, after multiple hysterical phone calls, I confirmed that my daughter was alive and well. The text was merely a monstrous joke.

Twenty-four hundred miles, separate my daughter and I - my middle child - my Christmas angel.  The call I'd placed earlier that day, was only the third I'd made to what I believed to be her phone in almost two years.  I really hadn't expected her to answer.

I loathed the distance between us, but can't fully explain why I didn't do more sooner, to mend what was broken between us.  In spite of the love I felt for my child, I stubbornly clung to my pride, and hurt feelings. Further, I'd inadvertently left the door open so others could meddle in what should have been a sacred relationship.

The cruel text I received was sent in response to the emotional message I'd left on a stranger's phone that morning. My daughter's number had been reassigned. That text, was my wake-up call!

To be estranged from one's own child seems inconceivable to me, yet there I was - here I am.  Did the physical miles between us make it that easy to forget the love I felt for her, and the pain I willingly endured just to bring her into this world?  Had I taken my daughter for granted?  Was I asking too much?  Did it matter?    

Yesterday, while once again driving home from the city, I thought of my daughter, on the occasion of her thirtieth birthday. I hummed softly along with the radio, the words of the song made famous by Vince Vance & the Valiants, grateful that I still have an angel to place atop my tree when so many others do not.  While the road between us is still bumpy, most of the potholes have been filled.

As a nation, we mourn the loss of innocents in Connecticut - death at the hand of a madman.  By the grace of God, I was able to wish away the tragic ending to my story.   Rather than mourning the lost years and distance between us, I'll celebrate my daughter's life, remembering the love and joy I felt the morning I placed her under our Christmas tree.

All I Want For Chistmas is You, was written by Mariah Carey

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