Christmas Wishes, or
How to Shop for Mommy

Cynthia sat at her desk, leisurely surfing the web. She hoped to find one more gift for her granddaughter, but didn't have any specific thing in mind to search for. Her cat, Trouble, lay curled up on her lap, doing his impressive impersonation of a revving motor. Cynthia stroked his sleek black fur and chuckled. Trouble had rewarded her petting with the sounds of a well tuned V8 engine.
"So tell me, Trouble," she said, "what else should we buy for Sarah, hmm?" Cynthia continued stroking the cat with her free hand, as she maneuvered her mouse across the webpage she was viewing.
Trouble raised his head, looking toward the hallway. Cynthia smiled as she heard the sounds of her daughter, Jennifer, entering the house. Jen was having an earnest conversation with Sarah - it sounded like Sarah was trying to convince her mommy that Santa Claus really hated peanut butter, so they better not give him a plate of peanut butter cookies this year.
"Are you sure Santa doesn't like peanut butter, Sarah? Or is it you that doesn't like it?" Jen walked back to Cynthia's office when Sarah didn't reply. "Hi mom. Whatcha doing?"
"I was looking for one more gift for you know who," she said. "But I have no ideas. I already bought her every Disney Princess item I could think of - is she still into Dora the Explorer?"
"Yeah," Jen said, "she'll be happy with anything you get her. And speaking of gifts, you know she spent all of her money on a gift for Jason?" Jen frowned, and nibbled at her bottom lip. "I mean, I'm glad she loves him and all, and he is a pretty terrific step-daddy - but I'm her mama, and she didn't get me nothin'!" She sighed and flopped down into a chair, her long blonde ponytail bouncing up and down. "Is it awful? Do I sound jealous?"
Cynthia chuckled and said, "No, it's not awful, and yes - you do sound jealous!"
Sarah walked into the room and hugged Cynthia. "Hi Grammy; can I turn on the tv?" Sarah patted Trouble on the head; Trouble rewarded Sarah with the sound of an idling motor.
"Sarah, tell Grammy what you bought Jason at the Santa workshop today," Jen said, as she stood up. "I'll make sure he doesn't come back here and hear y'all, okay?" Jen left the room.
"Oh, I bought him this tool set Grammy," Sarah said, "cause he likes to build things. You think he'll like it?"
"I'm sure he will, baby," Cynthia said. "I'm sure he'd be happy with anything you gave him." She leaned across Trouble and gave her granddaughter a hug. "And what did you get for mommy?" Trouble batted his paw at Cynthia's long silver hair as it tickled his ears.
"I wanted to talk to you about that, Grammy." Sarah leaned closer to her grandmother, placing her lips an inch away from Cynthia's ear. She glanced back over her shoulder, then cupped her hands around her mouth, enclosing Cynthia's ear inside. In a loud whisper, she said, "I know what mommy really, really wants - but I don't know how to buy it for her."
Cynthia murmured in encouragement.
"Mommy really wants a new truck -"
Cynthia swallowed her laugh.
"But if I can't get her a new truck, I think she might be okay with a new car," she said, "but it has to look like Bumblebee!" Sarah loved the Transformers movies; Bumblebee was her favorite character - he transformed from a bright yellow robot into a bright yellow mustang with black racing stripes. "Can you help me buy it, Grammy?"
Cynthia bit her lip. Hard.
"I even have four hundred dollars, Grammy," Sarah said, "wait, I'll show you!" She raced from the room.
Jennifer walked back in, laughing. "Where's she goin' in such a hurry?"
"Um, Jen? Sarah didn't forget your Christmas present," Cynthia said. "In fact, she wants me to buy you a car!" Jen's jaw dropped as Cynthia burst into laughter. "Now how in the world do I get out of this?"
Sarah walked back into the room, holding her ceramic piggy bank.
"Sarah," Jen said, "Grammy told me what you want to buy me - it's too much, baby. Thank you, I love that you want to do this for mommy, but I'd be very happy if you made me a gift, okay?"
Sarah's eyes watered as she nodded. She stood there, hugging her piggy bank tightly. Then, her eyes lit up as she smiled, rushing over to her grandmother's side. Cupping her hands around Cynthia's ears, she loudly whispered, "If I can't buy mommy a truck, will you help me take her to Disneyland? I do have four hundred dollars, for real!" She jiggled the bank to prove her point.
Choking back her laughter Cynthia said, "Oh lord, the child thinks I'm the First National Bank of Grandma!"
"Four hundred dollars!" Jen exclaimed. "Hmm, let's just double check that, k?"
Sarah solemnly handed her ceramic piggy to her mother; she helpfully patted the pig on its belly, making sure every penny fell out. She rocked back and forth on the balls of her feet as Jen counted.
"Yep, the First National Bank of Grandma could sure use this," Jen drawled, "cause four dollars is a whole lotta pennies!"

Author's note: This short story was written for my final paper portfolio in one of my English classes, Creative Writing, at Ashford University; the paper was turned in on January 16, 2012, and I did get an "A"! *grins* -- Shari Lyne