A Simple Christmas Blessing

Stuffed+Animal

A small act of kindness can be just the touch someone needs.

Bill Cavanaugh, Carolina Coastal Writers Group

William Cavanaugh

I’m getting cold stares as I occasionally look up. It seems the Christmas spirit has left the room. At this point, I am numb to all of it. My kids have been unruly since the plane took off. My three- and five-year-old both are not cooperating, and I just don’t have the strength or energy to control them.

The flight home is just shy of three hours I will hide from the “control you kids, lady” glares of those around me. I can hear whispers of contempt, disgust, and I’m not interested in any eye contact, just to see eye rolls.

The last couple months have been extremely difficult. I can barely hang on. My husband has informed me he is moving out for a younger, sexier version.   His delivery and tact have been classic Neanderthal for delivering this news. This has come out of the blue, as I was blind to the fact that our marriage was failing. I’ll admit the playfulness of our relationship has dissipated, and it seems our lives have been consumed with other things such as the kids, work, and his travels.

But to add to all of this, the doctor has informed me the lump on my breast is cancerous. The mass is larger than what was anticipated, and chemo will begin soon. I don’t know how I will deal with school, babysitters, the neighbors, and friends. This mountain just seems too high to climb right now.

I had hoped that my parents would have been a bit more understanding. Staying with them this past week was actually a week too much. I should have known they would blame me for all of this, and offer no real sympathy or support. It’s always been this way and I should have known better. It just sounded good to get out of town for a week. I was wrong.

Thankfully, our seats are up front in economy, but we are far from isolated. My three-year-old is now screaming, and in my arms. I shrug off the flight attendant who just offered some help. At the moment, joining in with the weeping seems appropriate. A moment later, a middle-aged gentleman from behind, is now standing by my aisle seat. He looks down at me, and sees my daughter’s head buried in my shoulder crying. He sees my puffed-up eyes, and tear-streaked face, as our eyes meet.

The gentleman speaks. “I don’t mean to bother you.”

Hearing his voice, my daughter stops crying, and looks up.

He continues. “I have a daughter about the same age at home. I stopped in the airport gift store and purchased this stuffed animal to take to her.”

With his right hand, he swings around from behind a now visible stuffed animal kitten.  “Do you think you daughter would like this?”

My look to this gentleman is one of gratefulness, as I mutter a soft, “thank you.”  I hand it to my daughter and ask her if she’d like the kitten? She took it in her shaking hands, and tightly held it against her little body.

“I can get another one when we land.”

He then said to my daughter, “This is a gift. Take good care of her.”

I again sniffled, and stumbled another “thank you.”

He wished us well, and walked back to his seat.