A Present for My Mom
In the dining hall, nuns escorted us to tables covered in white linen and topped with candles and red and white carnations. The room smelled of ham, rolls, and pies, like Christmas was supposed to. A choir of children, cloaked in red and white, slowly marched in singing carols.
A lot of the kids wore old clothes; like me, some were even chubby and plain. But nobody made us feel like we were less than they were.
After the meal, the nuns took us to meet Santa. It felt like forever before it was our turn.
When I was finally lifted to sit on Santa's ample lap, I tugged on his beard and laughed. It didn't give way! He was real.
I blurted out the wish I'd written in my letter to him that year: "I want Mom to love me, Santa."
"I am sure she does," he said, ruffling my hair. "Why wouldn't she love such a cute little girl as you?"