She swayed slightly while she hummed along to the music. He smiled watching her as she began to sing. He stood up to help her as she tip-toed to get the last ornament on the tree. His arms wrapped around her belly that was getting bigger day by day. His nose nuzzled into her neck.
She relaxed into his arms briefly as the last lines of the song played out…..
‘walking in a winter wonderland’
She turned and faced him as she rubbed the back of her hand against his face. She looked into his eyes which couldn’t hide his exhaustion.
“Let’s go sit by the fire, darling,” she said softly.
He took her hand and led her to the chair. He decided to sit on the floor so he could place his head on her stomach and feel closer to the little baby that was growing inside.
“Do you want to put your feet up, love?”
She smiled, “no I am good. Oh wait a moment, she is kicking. Did you feel that?”
She took his hand and held it on her side.
“My little angel. She moves a lot. I bet she is going to be a dancer or love gymnastics.”
She laughed, “well how it feels to me, I am guessing a soccer player.”
“Or that too….” he smiled as his mind wandered into scenes in his mind of his daughter growing up.
“I love that song. Every time I hear it I think about my grandparents. They always had music on this time of year. I miss them so much during the holidays,” her voice trailed off.
He could see in her eyes the tears she kept trying to blink back. He kissed her hand letting her know it is okay to let the emotions come out.
“Grandpa told the best stories,” she paused. “If we wanted him to tell one, we would go get some candy and bribe him with it. He would laugh, take one of the mints as he would create a tale. Stories we all could get lost in….”
“What a wonderful tradition, my love.”
“Yes…..” she held back once more.
He placed his head on her stomach and spoke to their little girl.
“Well it seems you have calmed down some. I am sure your momma is happy about that. I just wanted to tell you that next Christmas will be amazing. It will be filled with so much love, music and stories,” he looked up at his wife once more. “You will also learn some old family traditions as well as create new ones with your momma.”
She knew what he was trying to do so she asked, “what new traditions should we start?”
He held his breathe for a moment and thought about it. He then stood up and walked over to the where his coat hung. Pulling out a small box, he walked back over and knelt by her once more.
“I think that this should be the last ornament placed on the tree,” he handed her the box.
She could feel a heaviness in her chest as she opened the box. As she pulled it out, she could no longer hold back the tears. She put her arms out and pulled him closer.
“I promise it will be the last one we put on the tree and in a special place. I promise.”
He pulled back to look into her eyes. He kissed her nose, “I know my love. Thank you.”
She put her forehead to his and whispered, “you look tired. Why don’t you go lay down?”
He knew he couldn’t fight it anymore.
“Okay, but I will stay on the couch so I can drift off listening to you sing all these Christmas songs.”
She laughed, “if you don’t mind me singing off key?”
“It always sounds beautiful to me.”
They walked over to the couch and as he laid down, she covered him with a blanket.
“I love you sweetheart… forever.”
He smiled, “I love you too. Always.”
As she stood up to finish the Christmas decorations he spoke up once more,” One more tradition please.”
“What my dear?”
“Every time you play that song, dance with our daughter. Tell her that was the song I danced with both of you. When you dance with her, I will have you both in my arms even from Heaven.”
“Of course,” she smiled through tears.