The Christmas Quest

It was a Wednesday, yes I remember.  
Right after Thanksgiving, not even December.
We were driving to school, an ordinary day
UNTIL, my daughter decided to say:

“I want a reindeer” with a small wistful sigh.
You do? I see. For Christmas? But, why?
“I made one in school with a red little nose.
I thought to myself I don’t have one of those.”

No my sweet little girl, indeed you do not
But look at all the other animals you’ve got.
You’ve got kitties and dogs, tons of bears too
If you had a reindeer what would you do?

“I would play with him.” She replied.
I smiled at her and inside I sighed.
Does the deer’s nose have to be red?
“I like purple too” was all that she said.

I rose before dawn and went to the store
First one in when they unlocked the door.

I had my mission, not a doubt in mind
This was something that was easy to find
a red nosed rein-deer with a loveable face.
There had to be one in this giant toy place.

So with a “Right this way” and an “Over here”
I was left on my own to sort through the deer.
Not to be picky but I wanted the best
To honor my daughter’s one Christmas request.

I don’t want a deer that will say “Ho Ho”
Not one that will sing or one that will glow.
Not one that’s too small or one that’s too big
This one over here kind of looks like a pig.
Not one with a nose that is blue, black or green
Not one that is itchy or one that looks mean
This one over here is losing an eye
That one over there will actually cry.

But I had my list. I had made up my mind.
I would keep looking until I could find
a red nosed rein-deer with soft plush fur.
There must be one.  I’m certain. I’m sure.

I sorted through reindeer til there were none
The pile numbered one thousand and one.

Two weeks went by with nothing bought
Then while vacuuming,  I had a thought

A stuffed alternative? Maybe she’d agree...
...to a reindeer ornament for the tree?
“I don’t think I’d like that.” A tiny frown.
Oh no. 
I was going to let my little girl down.
I could just imagine her despair
when under the tree it wouldn’t be there.

I won’t let that happen.  I’m losing my mind.
There must be one for me to find
A red nosed rein-deer with a cute little smile
Who knew this would be my holiday trial?

Back to the store. Back to square one.
I would go back to where I had begun.
Not this one or that one, I repeated.
I almost gave up. Almost defeated.

UNTIL...I saw something in the store,
I’m certain it hadn’t been there before.
A reindeer stuffed animal and just the right size
with just the right grin and just the right eyes
just the right nose in just the right hue.
Its polka-dot scarf was just right too.
The Perfect Reindeer!  I found it by chance.
I could have sung or done a dance.

Leaving the store, proud as could be,
I saw a small girl looking at me.
She had beautiful eyes, but not any hair.
I couldn’t avoid her steady stare.

Hello, I said, how old are you?
“Five.” she beamed.  “How do you do?”
Her mother smiled and gave her a kiss
“She’s looking at your reindeer, miss.”

And in the face of this cancer stricken child,
I saw my own, so innocent and mild.
With peace in my heart and tears in my eyes,
I heard myself say to my surprise,

Merry Christmas, sweetie.
             No doubt in my mind.
This was the reason I was able to find
a red nosed reindeer to give it away
to bring Christmas joy to this stranger’s day.

She squeezed the deer with such delight,
her smile so big and eyes so bright.

I got in my car and paused to remember
what I already should have this December.
It’s not all about a brand new toy
Christmas is about a special baby boy.
Born that man no more may die.
Born to save both you and I.

It was after dark, when I got in the door
I stopped in my tracks, almost fell on the floor
On my couch, the reindeer, the very same
I gave to the girl, I don’t know her name.

How did that get here!?  I cried.
My husband matter-of-fact-ly replied,

“oh, at lunch today, I stopped by the store
I bought it because there were only two more.
The best reindeer they had with a red little nose.
and I knew you were looking for one of those.”

© 2012, Alexia Machina

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2 thoughts on “The Christmas Quest

  1. Pingback: Christmas Cards | helper and defender

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