Kaitlyn woke up with the Sun kissing her cheek. She loved the sunny days and there did not seem like there was much sun here in this place called Georgia. She had liked all of the snow for the first few days. Her Mom, Heather and her Dad, Justin and her two brothers Stephen and Austin had really liked the snow too! They went out and rolled down little hills in it and her Mom and Dad showed them how to make Snow Angels and they were always kissing and laughing. It made her happy.
And then they set up a make shift Fort out of trashcans and wood and saw horses. They picked sides, she and her Dad against her Mom and her brothers. It was a fair deal because Austin was only two and Stephen was already starting first grade. He was a big boy now and could really help their Mom in a snowball fight. And Kaitlyn was getting to be a big girl at four years old, but she needed someone strong like her Dad on her side. She and her Dad won the first snowball war. And they played so many times she could not remember how many times she and her Dad had won. But she was pretty sure that it probably came out even.
She went into the kitchen to see if her Mom would make her Mickey Mouse pancakes with lots of syrup. She liked the sweet taste of the syrup. Her brothers liked pancakes too. Mom did not always have a lot of time to make pancakes. She
worked very hard at keeping the house clean and running her Mary Kay business and taking care of her and her brothers and Dad. She cleaned and ran errands and took them places for fun and took Stephen to school each day. But now her Mom might have more time since she was not going to work so hard with her job.
Since Dad came back from a place called Iraq last year, Mom wanted to spend more time with all of them. And now they had moved here to Georgia. She knew they would be here for two or three years, and that sounded like a really long time to be away from Texas. It was almost always sunny in Texas, even when it rained.
She already missed her cousins and grand parents. Every one who was special to her lived in Texas. Except of course her Mom and Dad and brothers.
Mom was already making pancakes and they smelled so good. Her Dad helped her in to a chair and gave her a big hug and a kiss. She felt very special when he did that. She felt special a lot. Her Mom kissed and hugged on her all the time too. She was glad she had her Mom and Dad. Her Meme Kelly had told her that she believed that we all picked our family's before we were born. And that the choices we made were what made us great or small in the eyes of everyone. She especially liked that her Meme called her Katy and sometimes Katy Did.
They finished breakfast and went shopping for presents for Christmas. Her Dad took her to find something special for her Mom from just her. Her first real present that she could give to her Mom. This was going to be a wonderful Christmas, even if they were not in Texas.
She found a lovely locket that would open and hold two pictures. Dad said they were for keeping those you loved close to your heart, and that it was really good to have especially when that person was far away from you. And it was smaller than the pretty pillow and pillowcase Mom had sent him with all of their pictures on it when he was in Iraq. But she knew he really loved that pillowcase. He went to sleep and woke up each day with them. He said he was luckier than many of his fellow Soldiers who did not even have a picture to look at or carry with them of the ones they loved most.
Dad told her they would look through the photo albums when Mom was not at home and pick out the two pictures she thought would be most important to her Mom. She thought about it a lot! There was not room for her brothers and her Dad's pictures. Choosing only two was the hardest part of the present. She asked her Dad to choose, but he said that the biggest part of the gift was opening your heart to it. That I should listen to my heart, feel what it said felt right, and that when I saw the right pictures for the locket my heart would tell me so.
For two weeks Kaitlyn worried over the locket's pictures. And when she felt right about the pictures, her Dad cut them out for her and placed them within the locket.
He helped her carefully wrap the golden box in green tissue paper, then carefully place it in a larger box. Then he helped her wrap it in a beautiful red glittery paper.
The box was topped with golden and blue ribbon swirls that she had picked out. Then he helped her fill out the to and from card. Christmas was in two days and Kaitlyn prayed that her choices would be right.
Christmas morning came and Kaitlyn held her breath as her Mom started to unwrap her present. Her Mom loved the paper the gift was wrapped in and tried very hard not to tear it. She opened the box and pushed away the tissue paper to reveal another much smaller box. As she finally opened the second box her Mom said, " What a beautiful locket. Oh, and it opens for special pictures to be placed inside." And then her Mom opened the locket and tears began to fall. Kaitlyn was sure her Mom must be mad at her for getting the photo's and cutting them down to fit within the locket. " Mom she said, I'm sorry. I guess I should not have picked those two and cut them out. You can pick something else to put in there if you want"
Mom said, " Kaitlyn, if I had to choose, I would have chosen exactly these. I miss my Mom and my sister Brandi too. I have you and your brothers and your Dad close to me now. But with this lovely locket I have my Mom and sister close to me now too. This was the best present I ever received. Thank you sweetheart, I will always cherish this."