One Special Christmas

by Arnold Nelson

     Abby was riding in the car with her caseworker, Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Jones said Abby, please try to control your temper this time we are running out of place to send you. Mr. and Mrs. Ryan are good people. Given them chance, they want to help. They have two girls of their own about your age and a foster son who is going through some of same things you went through. He has it worse though. He watched his parents being shot and killed when some people broke into his house. He has not talked since. Mr. and Mrs. Ryan have been working with him. They have not made much progress though, maybe you can help him.

     Abby said I will try to make it work, Ms. Jones. It is not always my fault. I get mad when I see kids being picked on and I have to do something about it.

    I know Mrs. Jones said That's one of the reasons I like you and I'm trying so hard to find a good place for you. Well here we are, grab your bag and we will go in and I will introduce you. I hope you like it here. They really are good people.

     So Abby moved into the Ryan's house. Everything went fine for the first few weeks, everything was getting along fine. Then one night Abby went in to watch TV with the kids, after finishing the dishes.

    She went to sit down next to Sara. Sara said you can't sit here Jane and I have are things spread out all over the sofa. Sit over there with Peter there's plenty of room over there. So Abby did. After they watch TV for a while Abby felt something on her hand. She looked down and Peter had put his hand on top of hers. She looked at Peter and gave him a little smile then she squeezed his hand. Peter just smiled back.

     Jane looked over and saw Peter and Abby holding hands. She said look Sara, idiot and the dummy are holding hands, maybe they're in love. Then Sara started teasing them too. After a few minutes Abby got mad and she yelled at Jane and Sara to shut up. They would not shut up so finally Abby jumped off the sofa jumped cross the room at Jane and Sara and started hitting Jane with one fist and Sara with the other fist. Then Peter started screaming and having a fit. Mr. and Mrs. Ryan came running in when they heard all the commotion. They pull Abby off Jane and Sara. They told Jane and Sarah to get to their corners and they told Abby to get to another corner. Then Mrs. Ryan took Peter into his bedroom to calm down.

     Mr Ryan said okay Sarah into my office. He followed her into the office. When Sarah came out she said your turn Jane and went back to her corner. After a few minutes Jane came out and said Abby he wants to see you now then she went back to her corner. When Abby walked in the office she closed the door and started to undo her pants. Mr. Ryan said Abby what are doing. Abby said every time I get called in an office first thing they want me to do is drop my pants so they can give me a whipping. Mr. Ryan said fix your pants Abby, we don't give whippings in this house. Once in a while we get spankings but not very often. The reason you are here is I want to hear from you what happened.

     Abby said why! You already heard from Sara and Jane and I'm sure you'll believe them over me anyway. Mr. Ryan said that is not how we work in this house. I listen everybody's story and then I make up my mind who should get punished, so tell me what happened.

     Abby started I finish the dishes I when in to watched TV with the rest of the kids. I went to sit with Sara and Jane and they told me I couldn't sit there because they had their stuff everywhere. So I sat next to Peter. The next thing I knew Peter had put his hand on top of mind so I held his hand and smiled at him and he smiled back. Then Jane started calling me an idiot and Peter a dummy and then Sara started in I told them to stop but they wouldn't. So I got mad and jumped on them and started hitting them. One thing I can't stand is to see another kid getting picked on. I'm sorry I lost my temper, Mr. Ryan.

     Mr. Ryan said thank you Abby for your honesty you can go back in and watch TV now I'll take care of Sara and Jane. So Abby left. As she was leaving Mr. Ryan said Abby please tell Sara and Jane to get in here. Abby said okay

     So Abby went out and sat down to watch TV and she said your father wants to see both of you now.

     When Sara and Jane walked into their father's office they were both pretty nervous. After they close the door their father started in. I just had a nice talk with Abby she told me about the name calling you were doing. You know I won't tolerate name-calling in this house. That is the type of bullying and know how you feel about bullying. When we became a foster family you two girls promised you would help us. What you did was not helping you hurt Abby and Peter I have no idea how far you set Peter back I won't know until I talk to your mother. I want you to know I am very disappointed in you two. I have been thinking about punishment. What do you think would be a good punishment for you two? The girls just stood there and didn't say a word. So he continued I have decided you will have 30 min. in your corners and you will apologize to both Abby and Peter and you will do Abby's chores all next week.

    So Jane and Sarah walked out of the office with their heads hung down and went back to their corners a few minutes later Mr. Ryan came out and went to Peter's room to see how he was doing. When Mr. Ryan walked in Mrs. Ryan was still holding Peter. Peter had stopped crying but he was still visibly upset. Mr. Ryan came out and asked Abby to sit with Peter for a few minutes so Mr. and Mrs. Ryan could have a talk. Abby agreed.

    After Mr. and Mrs. Ryan had talked they called Abby and asked her to bring Peter and come back to the front room. Mr. Ryan said Abby and Peter, I have heard everything and I have made my decision the girls know what it is, now I want you to know. They have 30 min. in their corners and they will do all you chores next week and one more thing. Jane and Sara come over here. You have something to say to Abby and Peter?

    Jane spoke first Abby and Peter we are sorry for what we say about you, we weren't thinking we please forgive us. Then Sara said I'm sorry too we were wrong please forgive us.

    Abby said I will forgive you and I'm sorry I jumped on you but I can't stand to see anybody being picked on. Peter just stood there holding Abby's hand and nodded.

     Mr. Ryan said girls back to your corners you still have about 15 min. to go. Abby, you and Peter can watch TV. Abby you might be the best thing that happened to Peter for long time. You seemed to be getting through to Peter better than any of us could.

     So there is peace in the Ryan house again.

    One week later it was Christmas morning. They were all sitting around the Christmas tree opening presents. They just finished opening all the presence when Peter walked out. Peter came back in a few minutes later with one more package. He gave it to Abby and as he did he said Abby. that was the first word anybody heard him say since his parents died. Abby had tears in her eyes as she took the present and gave Peter a big hug. Then all the rest of them got up and gave Peter hug. Mr. Ryan said Peter you come along ways and you will make it back. Abby I can't believe how good you are with Peter, he would have come back on his own, but he came back a lot faster with your help, thank you.

    Within a week Peter was making full sentences again. After Abby graduated from high school, Peter and Abby got married. They became foster parents because they wanted to give back some of what their foster parents gave them.

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