Special Gift

Welcome Everyone!

I know this post is a day late, but here’s a holiday story inspired by 5 golden rings from #12DaysofChristmas.

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Marge Dumphrey was at her wit’s end. Christmas was a week away and she was struggling to finish all the chores. Today, she running all over town to complete the shopping. Although, it was hard to do with three kids driving her up the wall.

After shuffling through a crowded mall to buy gifts and stocking stuffers, Marge herded her brood into the mini van. The last stop on their shopping expedition was the supermarket. Marge prayed they’d get through the groceries without any trouble.

***

Marge’s prayers went unanswered as the family walked the aisles of the market. Ryan and Rachel, Marge’s six year-old twins were running around picking up toys and candy. Whenever her back was turned, the twins would toss something into the cart. Marge would then put the items back when the twins weren’t paying attention. Tina, the eldest Dumphrey child was busy texting on the phone, while impatiently asking, “how much longer?”

Not soon enough. Marge thought as they headed down the last aisles.

***

“Another late night of working?” Marge pressed the phone against the ear as she pulled a pan of lasagna from the oven.

“I’m sorry, honey,” Steve replied on the other end. “But we could use the money.”

Steve had a point. Even though the family was well off, a little extra money never hurt. Before the kids, they were a two income family. Steve worked at a manufacturing plant while Marge was a department store cashier. After the twins were born, the couple decided it would be best for Marge to become a stay-at-home mom.

Marge thought working in retail was tough, but it was nothing compared to raising three kids.

“I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

Steve said that whenever he worked overtime, which had come frequently the past two months. It was hard on the couple, yet they made time for each other. Steve didn’t have to do anything romantic to make it up to her. All she wanted was to spend time with him.

“I’ll see you later tonight, baby,” Steve replied.

“Alrighty. I’ll be waiting up for you.”

The couple said their goodbyes before hanging up the phone. Marge began plating the slices of lasagna while thinking about Steve. She loved her husband; he always put her and the kids ahead of himself. That was his main priority.

Marge had no right to complain about staying home with the kids or doing household chores, Steve had the harder job. He was the sole breadwinner.

Marge’s moment of contemplation was interrupted by a piercing “Mom” coming from Rachel.

***

After putting the kids to bed, Marge retreated to the den. Her little sanctuary. Every night after the kids were asleep, she’d curl up on the couch to watch television or read. She’d kill time while waiting for Steve. At midnight, he’d come in, exhausted from work. The couple would have dinner, then talk about the day’s events. That was the best part of the day for Marge.

A hand touching her arm, jolted Marge awake. She opened her eyes to see Steve.

“Hey sweetie.” He kissed her forehead.

“What time is it?” She rubbed her eyes.

“A little after twelve.”

“I can’t believe I fell asleep.” She threw the blanket off her legs, then sat up.

“You look tired.” Steve sat beside her, then rubbed Marge’s shoulders. “Did you have a rough day?”

“It wasn’t that bad.” Marge shrugged.

Steve knew she was lying. The twins were a handful, plus Tina was going through the usual teenage angst. He didn’t know how Marge handled it all.

“Would you like dinner? I fixed lasagna.”

“You know I can’t resist your homemade lasagna.”

Marge went into the kitchen to heat up the food while Steve unpacked his backpack.

“How was your day?” Steve threw the dirty clothes into the washer.

“It was…good. Finished buying all the gifts, then got groceries for the dinner I’m going to cook.”

“Sounds like you had a busy day.”

“It wasn’t that bad.” Marge set the plates on the table.

“Did Tina help with the twins?”

“When she wasn’t busy with the phone, yes she helped.” Marge took a sip of soda.

“My overtime will be over soon and I’ll be home more to help out.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” Marge cupped his hand. “I can handle them along with the housework.”

Steve shook his head. He wished he was around more to help with his wife. Yet, she was one of the reasons he was working overtime. Marge did so much for the family and she deserved something special for Christmas.

***

Christmas Eve came and with Steve off of work, he was able to help Marge get the kids ready for Santa. They tucked in Rachel and Ryan, then shooed Tina off to her room. Once everyone was snug in their bed, Marge and Steve got to work putting the gifts under the tree. Marge put the wrapped items into separate stacks for the kids, then she placed two boxes in the front for Steve.

“I think Santa beat us to the gifts.” Marge arose from the floor to find her husband staring at the tree. “What to do you mean?”

“Look.” He pointed to the center of the tree.

Marge moved in for a closer inspection. Nestled next to their First Christmas ornament was a velvet box with a red bow.

“What’s this?” Marge carefully removed the box from the tree.

“Open it and see.”

Marge opened the box to find a gold chain necklace with five golden rings. Holding the rings up, she saw each one had a family member’s name inscribed.

“Steve…”

“You deserve it.”

Tears welled in Marge’s eyes.

“Marge, you may not think it, but you do a lot for this family.” He wrapped Marge in his arms. “You have the tougher job out of the two of us. You’re the one that keeps everything running. I don’t know how you handle the chaos.”

“It isn’t easy.” Marge giggled.

“This proves you’re a strong woman with a lot of patience.” Steve chuckled. “One I’m proud to call my wife.”

Steve hooked the chain around his wife’s neck. “I love you, honey.”

“I love you, too.” Marge cupped Steve’s cheeks, then kissed him.

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