We always celebrate Christmas dinner at Uncle Bobby and Aunt Sandy’s house but this year, we had to have a Christmas Eve dinner. Mom told me why, but I can’t remember. I think it has something to do with someone going somewhere and…who knows…who the hell-o cares??? I get to open my Christmas presents very, very soon, and that’s all I care about‼!
“Laney? Are you done getting dressed? We need to walk over to Uncle Bobby’s now.”
“I’ll meet you there, Mom. I’m not quite ready.”
“All right. Hurry up.”
“OK.” Phew! I got out of that argument. You see, I bought another dress pretending to be Barbara Reid. Mom bought me this green, red and black plaid Christmas outfit. I know Christmas was all about green and red, but outfits with those color combination should be banned! I’d walk into Uncle Bobby’s house after most everyone arrived, then Mom wouldn’t be able to make a huge deal about me using her credit card…again!
At age 11, it isn’t customary for girls to order their own clothes. Mom is a genius at decorations and party planning, but she needs a wee bit of help in the clothes shopping department. Take for instance today. She is wearing a red long pencil skirt with a green fluffy teacher-style Christmas cardigan that has Santa and his elves all over the knit sweater. It’s really the type of sweater you see on your elementary school teachers. You know the ones with bells for Rudolph’s nose, type of cardigans? My mom’s a beautiful lady. But the way she dresses diminishes her looks. I am not going to let her taste in clothes ruin my chances of being noticed by a certain someone whose family had been invited to spend Christmas with us.
“Delaney Grace Reid!” Uh-oh! Why oh why did I have to run into Mom the moment I stepped into Uncle Bobby’s house???
“Hi Aunt Sandy!” I turned my attention to my aunt and another lady who was standing next to Mom. “Hello.” I brought the other lady into our conversation.
“Hi Laney. Beautiful dress.” Aunt Sandy winked at me. She was so smart and helpful. She already assumed the trouble I was in with my mother.
“Who are you?” The stranger asked. “Is she yours, Babs?”
“She is…” The way Mom said that wasn’t good…I was so busted!
“What’s so funny, Sandy?” The stranger wanted answers and she was about to get them.
“Hey, little girl!” My savior! Donovan would save me from this mess.
“Hi Donovan! Hi Jake! Hi Kelley!”
“Hey, Cousin. Don’t you look pretty, tonight!”
“Nice dress, Laney.” Did I tell you how much I loved Kelley? “You pick it out yourself?”
“Um yeah, and my generous mom bought it for me. Isn’t she nice? It wasn’t even on sale but I was able to purchase it.”
Mom’s face crinkled like a french fry. “And how generous was I, Delaney Grace Reid?”
“Give me a ballpark figure.”
While I was doing this song and dance with Mom, Aunt Sandy whispered to everyone in the room about my “identity theft” habits. The stranger, who turned out to be Mrs. Taylor, laughed aloud. The three collegians, laughed almost as loudly as Mrs. Taylor. I, for one, was hoping Dad would walk in and save me if Donovan Taylor wasn’t going to jump in.
“Please tell me this dress was south of $100.”
I let out a weak, “hahaha…” and tried to walk out of the kitchen.
“You may not leave here till you give me a clear answer, young lady.”
“Oh, all right!” In my bravest voice I said, “With tax and delivery it cost $300.” Mom gasped – like, loudly! “But, I have $200 saved up from doing all my chores. I’ll pay for $200 of it, and if you’ll let me put it on lay-away, I’ll pay it off in less than a year. I’ll still do all my chores and you don’t have to give me my $10 allowance.”
Mom had her hand on her forehead. Everyone else just outright laughed at me. I had no idea why any of this was funny!
“And by the way, Mom…I do most of the chores in the house, but get paid the same as Doug. There’s something wrong with this system. Also, how is a girl supposed to buy anything when she only gets paid $10 a month? I’d have to save up for almost three years before I could buy a dress. And what about shoes? I’d be in college before I could save up for a pretty dress and a pair of decent dress shoes.”
Mom’s head titled back and all I heard was a sigh.
“You know, Laney,” my dream man spoke up, “I haven’t bought you a Christmas present yet. Why don’t I pay for the rest of your dress?” Gaaawwwddd‼! Did I ever tell you I love this man?
“No.” What a party-pooper that Barbara Reid was! “That’s way too much for Donovan to be paying for your irresponsibility.”
Come on, Mom! Can’t I just accept and move on?
“How about if I chip in with Donovan?” I love Jake!
“I’ll chip in, too. Then it’s only $33 a person.” Kelley smiled at me.
I ran over and hugged all three of my saviors – of course Donovan got the last and longest hug.
What a fantastic Christmas!