“Bells will be ringing the glad, glad news. Oh what a Christmas to have the blues! My baby’s gone, I have no friends to wish me greetings ohhhh once again!” I picked my baby up from her crib and placed her on the changing table. “Choir’s will be singing ‘Silent Night’ and all those Christmas carols by candle light! Please come home for Christmas, please come home for Christmas! If not for Christmas, by new year’s night!” I belted, fastening a new diaper on Anya. “Friends and relations send salutations, just as sure as the stars shine above! Yes they do! This is Christmas, Christmas my dear! The time of year to be with one that you looooooove.” I patted my daughter’s stomach and she giggled as I swung her on my hip, bouncing her around her bedroom, singing as I danced. “Then won’t you tell me you’re never more wrong, Christmas and New Years will find you at home. There will be no more sorrows, no grief or pain, because I’ll be happy that it’s Christmas once again!” I finished my dance number by placing her back in her crib on her own two feet. I was out of breath and hung my head into her crib as I spoke, “and that is what they don’t show you on TV.” Anya giggled and grabbed a hold of one of my fingers. She jumped up and down in her crib, taking my hand up and down with her. I laughed, “Anya, babe, calm down.” She jumped a little too high and lost her balance as she came down, landing on her bottom on the mattress. Her face twisted instantly but soon she was back on her feet, this time banging her Daddy’s hand against the railing of the crib.
“Come here, kid,” I growled jokingly. I grabbed her out of her bed and started my dance again, swinging her onto my hip and holding one of her hands in my own up in the air. “Bells will be ringing the glad, glad news. Oh what a Christmas to have the blues!” Anya giggled, loving every minute of my silliness. “My baby’s gone! I have no friends, to wish me greetings Ohhhh once again!” I started to belt the words, “Choirs will be singing ‘Silent Night’! Those Christmas Carols by candlelight, Pleeeease come home for Christmas, Pleeeease come home for-” I stopped abruptly as the phone rang in the hallway. I made a face at my daughter. “Now who could that be?” I asked her. Anya shook her head. I laughed at her actions and got to the phone on the second ring. “Hello?”
“Tay, it’s me.”
I smiled. “Hey, Clare!” I balanced my daughter on my hip and held one hand around her back tightly. “What’s shakin’?” I walked back into Anya’s room with the phone between my shoulder and chin. I started cleaning up some toys that had been left out previously by some unknown culprit.
“Babe, I have bad news.”
My face fell and I stopped what I was doing. I straightened up. “What’s wrong?”
“Have you looked out the window lately?” My wife questioned.
I walked towards the window and moved back the curtain with one finger. My mouth dropped at the sight that had formed since I bid farewell to my wife not less than three hours prior. I couldn’t even tell where the street began and where our property ended, everything was white. I couldn’t see past the tree outside of my daughter’s window, snow was everywhere. Anya squealed and reached for the window. I moved forward so she could touch whatever it was she wanted to touch. She pressed her palms up against the window and looked up at me, a huge smile across her face. She adverted her attention back to the pure white world that had formed while we weren’t looking. She pressed her nose up against the cool glass, taking in the spectacle for all that it was worth.
“The roads are iced up,” Clare went on in my ear. “Looks like Zoë and I are staying here tonight.”
I nodded and then realized she couldn’t see me through the phone. “That would be best,” I told her. “Tell your Mom and Dad hi from me and my baby.”
“I will,” Clare promised. I could sense her smiling on the other end of the line. “I miss you.”
I laughed. “It’s been forever,” I joked. “Three hours at the most!”
“That’s three hours too long,” my wife teased back. “Hold on, Tay, someone wants to talk to you.”
“Daddy!” Zoë exclaimed as her mother handed her the phone, probably too slowly from her point of view.
“Hey, Zoster! I love you, sweetie.”
“I love you, too, Daddy.”
“It looks like you and Mommy are going to be staying with Grandma and Grandpa tonight.”
“I wanna go sleigh riding with you, Daddy.”
I laughed and looked back out the window, shifting Anya up a little because she was beginning to squirm to get closer to the outside, which was impossible but not in her baby-brain. The snow was falling hard and the sun was completely covered in the gray sky. It would be dark soon, but not for an hour at least. “Ask Pop,” I suggested.
“But I want to go with you,” Zoë whined.
“Zoë Marie,” I warned.
“Listen, tomorrow morning when you and Mommy come home I’ll take you sledding, and then we’ll go for hot chocolate. How does that sound?”
I heard Zoë call to her mother that she and I were going out tomorrow and they’d have to be home early so her and I could beat the “sleigh riding rush.” I contained my laughter.
“Thank you, Daddy.”
“Of course, Zo,” I told her. “What else is snow good for?”
My daughter giggled. “Snow angels.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot.”
“You forgot?” Zoë sounded hurt.
“I’m just kidding, hon. I could never forget something that important.”
“Dada!” Anya said at my side. She grabbed my hair and I winced as she yanked it hard.
“An, come on,” I said, untangling the strands from her first. “Zoë, your sister is getting restless, I have to go get her dinner ready.”
“Don’t drive your grandparents up the wall tonight,” I cautioned my daughter.
“I love you, my snow angel.”
“Love you, Daddy!”
“Tell your Mommy to kiss the twins for me.” I was too late, Zoë had already hung up the phone.
I shrugged and clicked the off button, placing the phone on the window sill planning to come back and get it later.
Anya bounced her bottom on my arm. “You,” I accused, grabbing her under both arms and holding her above my head. She giggled as I pulled her closer to my face and then lifted her back up towards the ceiling. “You and I are going to be alone tonight.” I kissed her small face when I brought her down again. She giggled as she was hoisted back higher once again. “First, we’re going to eat.” I kissed her nose when I brought her down this time to stay. “Then, we’re going to bundle up and take a walk in this wonderland of white.” I glanced quickly at the window and felt the anticipation growing as the snow kept coming down. I wanted to go out in it with a good camera and make snowmen with my daughters. I only had half of the more important part of my plan but I was determined to make Anya’s first snowfall a memorable one.