A Christmas Surprise

Flashback to Christmas Eve 2005

Lemon-B, (4 ½ year-old) came dashing out from her room with her baby pillow in one arm and her favorite teddy bear in the other.  Standing at the top of the staircase, she pitched her pillow forward into the air and watched as it landed and rolled to the bottom of the staircase.  She was about to do the same thing with her teddy bear but changed her mind last second and hugged it to her chest instead.  Then she kissed her toy and ran back into her room and dragged her blanket off her bed. 

Standing at the top of the staircase once again, she paused and pondered how she was going to get to the bottom of the stairs where her pillow was.  Then, dropping her hold of the blanket, she stooped down to wrap her teddy bear with it.  With one hand on the railings, she carefully dragged her blanket behind her down the stairs, one tiny step at a time.

When she got to the bottom of the stairs, she stooped down again.  This time it was to pick up her pillow and placed it on her blanket with her teddy bear.  Grabbing the open end of the blanket, she dragged it walking backwards into the family room until she reached the loveseat sofa next to the fireplace.  Then with her teddy bear under one arm, she picked up her pillow and placed it on the far end of the sofa so her head would be facing the fireplace.  She then climbed unto the sofa and pulled her blanket up and left it there in a bundle.  With the teddy bear still clutched in her arm, she headed to the kitchen to look for her mother. 

“Mommy, I’m ready for bed now!”  She stood next to her mother and watched as Quin placed shortbread biscuits on a festive decorated plate.  “Are those the cookies for Santa?” 

Quin smiled and patted her daughter’s head.  “Yes, Lemon-B! For Santa!  Not for you!”

“Will you give him some chocolate milk too?”  Lemon-B asked and placed her Dear Santa Letter on the tray next to the plate of cookies.  “Daddy said Santa likes chocolate milk!”

Quin had in mind to open a packet of Vitasoy so she wouldn’t be wasting a good glass of milk due to contamination over the night.  She wasn’t about to waste a good cup of chocolate milk that her children could enjoy on Christmas Day.  But she couldn’t be mean to Santa in front of her daughter.  Oh no!

“Let Mommy think about it, okay?”  She kissed her daughter who nodded her head.  “Now you have to promise to sleep right away, or else Santa Claus won’t be bringing you any presents tonight!”

“I promise, Mommy!”  She pretended to make a yawn.  “See!  I’m sleepy now!”

“Have you said good-night to Grandma and Grandpa?”  Quin watched as her daughter run out of the kitchen, so she proceeded to finish putting the home-baked cookies on the tray for Santa; the ones she would like to eat as a snack after all her preparation work was done. 

Suddenly she heard Lemon-B shouting aloud her good-nights to her parents.  Quin came into the family room with the tray of goodies and was about to send her daughter upstairs to her grandparents to bid her good-nights properly.  But they were coming down the stairs as Lemon-B climbed unto the loveseat sofa and got under her blankets. 

“Quin, are you sure she won’t be too cold here tonight?”  Mr. Mo was concerned, as a very ‘Chinese’ grandpa would be.

“The fireplace will keep her warm!”  His wife, Bui Yee, affirmed as they approached their granddaughter and kissed her good night. 

After saying their nightly prayers, Quin tucked Lemon-B into her temporary bed, the loveseat sofa, and gave her a good-night kiss.  “You go to sleep now so Santa can drop off your presents!”  Yes, Quin thought the sooner her daughter fell asleep, the sooner she could finish her job tonight.

“Mommy, do you think Santa will wake me up?”  Lemon-B asked with hopeful eyes.

Knowing she would have to play Santa because Fei wouldn’t be home until New Year's Day due to work, Quin tried to come up with a good answer.  Playing Santa without a Santa suit could prove to be most challenging, and she didn’t want to ruin the tale for her children yet.  “I think Santa usually wake up the parents to take their children back to their beds.”

Lemon-B’s eyes turned dreamy.  “Maybe Santa will grant me all my Christmas wishes!”

“You have more than one?”  Quin asked in surprise.  Lemon-B put out all five fingers. 
Then she let out a cheeky smile with a dimple and slowly bent her fingers one by one until only three were left standing.  “You are so sneaky!  Just like Daddy!” Quin squeezed her daughter’s cheeks and tickled her.  “What are your three wishes?”

“No telling, Mommy!”  Lemon-B wasn’t giving in even with the tickles.  “Santa won’t grant my wishes if I tell!”

Four hours later, Quin was finally ready for Christmas.  She managed to wrap the rest of the gifts and placed them under the tree without waking up Lemon-B.  She also seasoned, stuffed and somehow managed to place the big turkey inside her refrigerator and got the guest room ready for Chin Chin and her family who would be arriving at her home before noon on Christmas Day.  She even managed to send Christmas e-Cards to all their friends and family all over the world. 

Half an hour before midnight, there was only one more task Quin needed to do.  She headed downstairs and found Lemon-B sound asleep on the sofa.  Watching her daughter sleeping so ever peacefully, she was suddenly overwhelmed with the feeling of how much she missed her husband.  It had been two months since Fei was at home with them.  Though they spoke with each other every day via the phone and see each other via Skype, it just wasn’t the same as having him at home in person.  This would be the very first Christmas he would be away from his daughter and son.  She took in a deep breath and accepted the fact that this was going to be the way of life for being married to an FBI agent.  She glanced around her decorated living room and was satisfied with everything until she noticed she had left one single red bow on the floor.

After picking up the bow, Quin walked towards the glass of Vitasoy and the plate of cookies that was left for Santa, but she had no appetite to even take a bite to make it look like Santa came by.  Placing the bow on the tray, she picked up the Dear Santa letter that was drawn by Lemon-B.  When she saw how her daughter had drawn out her two wishes for Santa, she couldn’t help but smile.  One drawing was for the toy that was sitting under the Christmas tree and the other drawing was of all the people that would be spending Christmas Day in their home.  Lemon-B had included her Daddy in the drawing with yellow highlight as emphasis. 

Quin couldn’t help but to make the same wish herself at that moment.  But she was way too practical to believe in making such impossible wishes, and way too grown-up to believe in Santa Claus.  But she wouldn’t point out this reality to her children just yet.  Besides, she and Fei had agreed on their very first Christmas as husband and wife that they would let their children decide for themselves regarding the symbolism of Santa Claus.  After all, God was the One who came up with so many names for the baby born on the first Christmas morning. 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

Quin believed it was more important to allow children to develop their creativity and imagination in a healthy social environment.  Thus she decided she would return with her two year-old son who was asleep in his crib and join her daughter in spending the night by sleeping in the family room until Christmas morning.  And she would do this after taking a much needed relaxing hot shower first.  She also made a mental note to put away some of the cookies and drink up the Vitasoy upon her return to the family room afterwards.

Shortly before midnight, Quin came out of the shower and heard a soft knock on her bedroom door.  Thinking it was either her f or Bui Yee, she walked up to the door with a towel wrapped around her body and whispered at an audible volume only for the person on the other side of the door to hear.  “Wait!  I just got out of the shower!  Let me put on my night coat first!”

“Don’t bother!  I’ll just take it off again!” 

Quin’s heart dropped to her stomach.  She recognized the voice immediately and swung open the door to greet her husband.  Oh how Fei looked seeing that surprised expression on his wife’s face.  It only took him one split second to step into the bedroom and closed the door before he drew his wife into his arms and showered her with his kisses. 

Well, as you can imagine, his surprise return led from one thing to another and finally the inevitable physical union they would never forget for years to come.  For at precisely a minute after they both reached the state of euphoria, when they were still in each other’s arms, their bedroom door flung open and in charged an ever excited Lemon-B with her teddy bear.

“Mommy! Santa came!  He ate all the cookies! He even took my letter!”  She was beyond elated.  “But Mommy, Santa didn’t like your milk!”

“What?! Honey?”  This was all Quin could utter given the state of shock that her body was still in.  Yet she quickly pulled the sheet over her body as Fei snuck underneath because they had both agreed earlier to keep his return as a surprise for the children and her parents until Christmas morning.

“Mommy!  I told you Santa likes chocolate milk!”  Lemon-B was about to reach the bed. 

“Really?  Santa likes chocolate milk?”  Quin could only repeat the words.  Fei knew their daughter had a habit of climbing onto their bed so he quickly turned in the opposite direction as Quin yanked her arms and legs to cover up their naked bodies.  They were both glad their room was completely dark except for the night-light from the corridor.

Fei decided to roll himself off the bed thinking the duvet cover would be there to catch his fall.  He thought wrong, the duvet cover was on the other side of the bed.  Thus he made a super loud thud as he landed on the wooden floor board. 

Lemon-B's steps came to a sudden halt upon hearing the loud thud.  Through the reflection of the night-light from the corridor, Quin could see the look of surprise on her daughter’s face.  Then when the lights from her parents' room came on, Quin pushed a pillow down the side of the bed for Fei to use as a cover if need be.  At the same time, she took advantage of her husband's fall.  “I think Santa is still downstairs!” 

And when her parents appeared at her door way, Quin had to think of a way to get rid of them before they turn on the bedroom lights.  “Lemon-B, take Grandma and Grandpa downstairs to look for Santa!  Maybe he is still here!”

“Maybe he’s on the roof!”  Lemon-B's face lit up with even more excitement then when she first busted into the room.  She dropped her teddy bear, swirled around and grabbed each of her grandparents’ hand.  “Let’s go outside!  Santa is on the roof!”

When Quin heard her daughter leading her parents down the stairs, she was finally able to let out a breath of relief and quickly got out of bed to lock the door.  Upon her return, Fei was climbing back into their bed.  Quin smacked him playfully on the head with the pillow she was holding against her chest.  “Thanks for NOT locking the door!”

“I was too eager to deliver my Christmas gift!”  He grab her and planted a kiss on her. 

“She wouldn't have come upstairs if you hadn’t eaten all those cookies!”

“I was hungry!”  Then he said coyly with a tease.  “But Lemon-B was right!  I like chocolate milk!”

She hit him again with her pillow and the play began again until Quin had to go and calm their daughter down to settle her in bed on this early Christmas morning.

And so on Christmas morning, while Quin was feeding her two year-old son in the nursery, Lemon-B found her Dad in the kitchen with her grandparents getting breakfast ready for the family.  Once again, Fei got another surprised expression which was much like the one Quin had on her face last night when she first saw him.  This time it was from Lemon-B who charged up to him for a big bear hug. 

During the whole course of breakfast, Lemon-B couldn’t conceal her inner joy.  Every time her father looked at her, she would give him the cheery dimple smile which almost seemed mischievous.

“Why are you still so cheery and smiley?”  Fei had to ask after getting like a gazillion super charged high-voltage smiles from her all morning. 

As if her father’s question brought her back to the land of reality, her smile was replaced by a gasp and she got out of her seat.  Ignoring the elders’ questions and reprimand, she dashed to the living room and immediately came back with a red bow in her hand.  “Santa left this on the tray!”

She climbed onto her father’s laps and stamped the red bow hard to make sure it stuck on his head.  “You are my Christmas wish!  That’s why Santa left the red bow on the tray!”
As soon as his daughter went back to her seat, Fei gave her a questioning look.  “I thought your Christmas wish is still sitting under the tree?”

“She has three!”  Quin updated him.

“Three?!”  All three adults around the table repeated.  Lemon-B giggled as she nodded and waved her three fingers in front of her father.

“Greedy like your Mommy!  One is not enough!”  This comment from Fei earned him a playful smack in the arm from his wife.  Then Fei peeled the red bow off from his head and was about to stick it to his wife’s head.  But she fought him off.  Just when he managed to stick the bow on Quin’s sweater in front of her tummy, he asked his daughter.  “What’s your third Christmas wish?”

At that specific instant, Lemon-B covered her mouth her with two palms and gazed at her parents with big round eyes.  Of course her gesture had nothing to do with the fact that Santa had granted her third wish.  For no one except God knew Quin had conceived again.  And of course, no one but God saw that extra tiny baby Lemon-B had drawn in her letter to Santa. 

Well, no human eyes saw it until one year later when Fei looked at the Santa letter again while helping Quin sort the Christmas decorations.  It was so like Fei to pay attention to details.  “Did Lemon-B ever tell you her third Christmas wish last year?”

Quin thought about it.  “No, why?”

Fei turned around and pointed to the extra baby in the picture drawn by their then, 4 and a half year-old daughter back in 2005.

And thus - the continuation to Canon in DIF IV Chapter 45 (Click to read)

Born on Christmas Day - One Voice Children's Choir