Christmas is a special holiday that children look forward to. It is filled with joyful songs, festive meals, exciting gifts and quality time with family exchanging heartwarming stories and doing holiday activities together.
For Samuel, Christmas was his favorite time of the year because he got to decorate the Christmas tree, receive gifts from Santa and, most importantly, it was a particular time when his parents would sit with him during dinner and pay attention to him.
With Christmas approaching, little Samuel chose the perfect pine tree with his grandmother to place inside the house. After placing it, the little boy began to gaily decorate it with Christmas lights and ornaments.
“Daddy!” he shouted from across the room. “Look at the tree!”
His father, Peter, was too busy working on his laptop to even look at the boy.
“Dad!” he called back. “Look at the tree! It’s almost ready!”.
The man didn’t turn to look at the little boy’s second call either, so Sam’s grandmother decided to get her son’s attention.
“Peter, honey. Sam is trying to show you something,” she said softly.
Peter finally looked up, but not to look at the tree. He let out a frustrated sigh and stood up.
“I’m trying to work and you two are bothering me about a damn tree. How am I going to finish what I’m doing?” he said, storming out of the living room.
Sam’s eyes began to fill with tears. He had been anxious about decorating the tree because it finally meant Christmas was coming and that meant being able to spend time with his parents.
“Don’t worry, honey,” Grandma Nelly comforted him. “The tree looks beautiful. When your parents finish their work, they’ll appreciate what a great job you did!”.
Sam nodded and smiled softly at his grandmother. However, the old woman could see the pain and sadness in her grandson’s eyes and could do nothing about it.
During Christmas Eve, Sam helped Grandma Nelly prepare dinner for the evening. They baked a whole chicken, made some pasta and an apple pie for them to enjoy.
The boy was so happy to see his mom and dad sitting with him and Grandma Nelly at the table. He couldn’t wait to open presents with them after dinner, before finally watching a movie together, all snuggled up next to each other on the couch.
“I’m so happy you’re all here,” Samuel told the family. “Christmas is my favorite time of year because we get to spend time together without worrying about anything else,” he said, smiling.
The adults around the table smiled at Sam and nodded in agreement. They began serving dinner to each other until the boy’s father suddenly got a call. “It’s our client,” he said worriedly, looking at his wife Annie.
Peter and Annie had just closed a major deal with a businessman who was taking advantage of his services as a building contractor.
“I’m sure that could wait until after Christmas” hinted Grandma Nelly, seeing that Sam also had a worried look on her face.
“Of course it couldn’t. If I ignore our client, I might revoke his offer,” Peter said, getting up from the table to take the call.
After a few minutes, Peter returned to the table.
“We have to go,” he told his wife. “He wants us to go over part of the plan before the holidays are over so we can get started on the project before the New Year.”
Annie nodded, touching her mouth with a napkin and sipping her glass of water before standing up.
“Sorry, Mom, sorry, Sam,” she apologized. “We’ll try to get back as soon as we can, but don’t wait up,” she said, giving Sam a kiss on the forehead.
“But Mom,” protested the child. “It’s Christmas! You’re supposed to spend it with your family. Can’t your client wait another day?” he asked, his eyes filling with tears.
“Didn’t you hear me, Sam? We need to fix this as soon as possible. Grandma will be here to celebrate Christmas with you. We left your presents under the tree, too. I’m sure you’ll love it!” said Peter in an attempt to comfort his son.
“I don’t care about the presents, I want YOU to be here! The two of you spend very little time at home all year. Christmas is the only time we get to spend time together,” he said tearfully.
“Don’t make this any harder, Sam,” his mom admonished him. “We work hard to have food on our table every Christmas and presents under the tree! Don’t be ungrateful.”
Before Sam and Grandma Nelly could say anything else, Peter and Annie left the house. The old lady did her best to cheer Sam up, but it was hard for him to cheer up knowing he wouldn’t be spending Christmas Eve with his parents for the first time.
Hours later, while Peter and Annie were reviewing their plan with their client, they received a call from an unknown number.
“Hello?” answered Peter, thinking it might have been another client of theirs.
“Hello, sir. It’s the police. This is Officer Bastidas speaking. We’re calling about your son, Sam,” he said.
Peter’s heart stopped as he heard this, suddenly feeling guilty about leaving Sam over Christmas.
“What’s wrong, what happened to him?” asked Peter hurriedly, which worried Annie, who stopped what she was doing to try to listen.
“We found him alone at the Christmas Market, sitting on one of the benches. At first, we thought his parents had asked him to wait, but even after an hour, he was still alone.”
“He is with us at the police station. Please come and get him,” the officer said before hanging up the phone.
Peter and Annie tried to reach Grandma Nelly, but she did not take any of their calls. They apologized to their client and said they needed to go home for their son.
When Peter and Annie arrived at the station, they were crying. Quickly, they walked to the back, where they looked for Sam. They saw the boy sitting next to one of the officers, wrapped in a blanket.
“Sam!” said Annie, rushing to hug her son. “I’m so sorry,” she said, crying. “I couldn’t imagine what I would do if something happened to you. Thank God you’re okay. I’m so sorry, son.”
“Don’t worry, Mom,” Sam replied softly. “I wanted to feel the Christmas spirit and celebrate the holiday, even if it meant having to spend it alone.”
“I was really looking forward to the holiday because it’s the only time we have uninterrupted times as a family. When you said you were going to work, I was very sad and Grandma Nelly fell asleep past midnight,” he admitted.
Peter and Annie looked at each other with a lot of guilt in their eyes. They had been neglecting their own son for the sake of their work, and they knew that had to stop.
The father checked his phone and saw five missed calls from his client. He decided to politely tell him that they would make the requests after the Christmas holidays, as they wanted to focus solely on their son now.
The parents turned off their phones and turned them back on on the 26th. They spent Christmas with their son and Grandma Nelly, doing all the Christmas activities Sam wanted to do.