When I was younger, my parents would take me on vacation to Florida over Christmas break. My mother would sit on the balcony with a wine glass in her hand while my dad and I would go bird watching at the beach. I used to love going to Florida until I realized that other kids didn’t do this on Christmas break. For them, it was all about spending time with their families, gathered around a tree, opening presents and eating lots of food.
One day I asked my mother why we didn’t do those things. When I did, this sad look came over her face. She walked over to the fireplace and laid one hand gently on the clock that sat on the mantle. It was an antique, she had told me, given to her by her mother, who was given it by her mother, and so on for generations. It didn’t work, and I often wondered why we never got it fixed.
“Christmas makes me sad, Ginny,” my mother replied. “My parents died in an automobile accident right before you were born on Christmas day.” Her eyes were so full of sorrow and unshed tears. “Going to Florida makes me forget about that. It makes me happy to see you running around on the beach with your father.”
“It’s okay, Mom,” I told her, as I wrapped my arms around her. “I understand.”
Now, I am grown with a family of my own. Every Christmas vacation we pack everyone in the car and drive down to Florida. I sit on the balcony with a wine glass in my hand while my husband goes bird watching at the beach, just like when I was younger.
Received Honorable Mention in the Daily Flash Fiction Challenge