“Mommy! Daddy!” Alyssa yells as she runs into the bedsroom, jumping on the bed. “Wake up! Wake up!” Dale slightly opens his eyes, glancing at the clock, letting out a yawn.
“What time is it?” Marie wonders, as she tries to bury herself back under the pillows.
“It’s actually 8,” Dale states, as she glances over surprised. “She did let us sleep in some…”
“It’s Christmas!” Alyssa lets out as she sits on the bed, looking between them. “Santa came. I looked. Can we open gifts, puhleeeease?” The pair of them chuckle as Dale sits up, wrapping his arms around her, and pulling him back against him.
“Don’t you wanna lay here with daddy and cuddle?” She shakes her head no, immediately, squirming out of his hands. “So you really think Santa brought you some good stuff?”
“I good girl, Daddy!” He chuckles, knowing that was certain, as he tosses the blanket off, slowly getting up.
“I’ll go get Elsa from her room. I expect to see you downstairs shortly?” Marie gives a thumbs up as another yawn escapes her lips. “I’ll send Alyssa back up to get you if you’re not…”
“Yeah, yeah,” Marie lets out as Dale and Alyssa leave the room to go get Elsa.
It wasn’t long before the family was gathered around the tree, opening the gifts left by Santa, and also the ones they got for each other. From clothes, to barbies, to even a couple more toy cars, it seemed that Alyssa had gotten a bit of everything. Elsa was spoiled too, with some more toys for her to play with, including a little car to ride around on.
“We’re spoiled, aren’t we?” Marie questions, as she watches Elsa climb on her new toy car, pushing her feet as she goes back up the hall again.
“I wouldn’t say spoiled,” Dale answers as he wraps an arm around her, glancing towards Alyssa who was playing with her cars in a mock race of her own on the carpet. “I’d say we’re blessed, and deservingly so. You especially deserve it after everything you went through.” She looks over at him, grabbing his hand and squeezing it.
“You went through just as much as me, if not more. I still can’t imagine what was going through your mind that day on the plane.” Dale looks back towards Alyssa, counting his blessings once again, before his eyes return to Marie.
“I was thinking how much I missed you, how I loved you so much, and even how maybe I took you for granted sometimes. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again.” He then kisses her lips. “But I also remember watching Alyssa, wondering if I could raise a little girl all by myself, scared out of my mind. I just wanted the best for her – that’s all I still want for her. I was thinking how she’d never get to know her amazing mother, and why I loved you, and all the things that you could teach her. I was a mess…”
“Hey, that’s understandable. I mean, I was a mess when I woke up and you had gone missing from the hospital. If it wasn’t for Stevie and Kelley, I would’ve gone insane.” Dale chuckles, sometimes still amazed at his sister’s strength.
“All that matters is that we have each other, and these beautiful little girls…” He then kisses her lips once more, before heading out to the kitchen to start on breakfast.
As he was getting set to get the eggs out of the fridge, he pauses, taking a deep breath, as he glances once more towards the living room. He couldn’t help but smile as he saw Marie sit on the floor, kicking off a conversation with Alyssa about her race. He also chuckled as Elsa went around the kitchen and back out towards the living room, making vroom noises the entire time.
“Never take a single moment for granted,” he reminds himself, focusing back on breakfast. If he needed any assurance that he was making the right decision for his future, he got it in that moment.
The rest of the morning went smoothly as they all ate together, followed by the kids continuing to play with their new gifts. Dale and Marie began to set focus on dinner for later on that day, knowing the house would be full in a matter of hours.
Caught up in dressing her new dolls, Alyssa felt like she was having the perfect time in her little kid world. But when she heard a familiar ring from her dad’s cell phone, it didn’t take her long to drop her toys.
“I got it!” She announces immediately, walking over to the table and answering the facetime request. “Chasey!!” Chase immediately smiles back in return as her face fills the screen. “Merry Christmas!”
“Merry Christmas to you, too!” He replies back as Dale glances over, not surprised that he was messaging them. “Did you get lots of gifts?”
“Yes! I show you!!” She then carries the phone around the room, showing him everything that she got from Santa and her parents. “You get gifts?”
“Of course I did as I was a good boy, too. I also know that there’s a special gift you haven’t gotten yet.” Her eyes light up immediately. “Go look behind the cupboard in the dining room.” She sets the phone down, running there to look as she sees a pink box immediately. She grabs it, hurrying back with it as she sets it down on the ground. “You found it?”
“Can I open it, please?” He chuckles, nodding his head. He watches as she tears into the packaging, ripping through each layer as quick as she could, before reaching a box inside.
“Open that up…” She follows the instructions, immediately smiling as she pulls out the pink firesuit. She holds it up, looking it over, seeing the design that he had chosen, along with ‘Princess Alyssa’ along the belt line. She looks back in the box, seeing he had gotten a pair of pink skeleton gloves and racing shoes to match. “What do you think of that?” Chase knew she was almost too big for her current suit, and figured it was only fitting to spoil her for the next one.
“That’s awesome! It so pretty! Thank you Chasey!” He smiles back in return. “I have gift for you when you come home, okay?”
“Absolutely. I look forward to seeing it. Now, can I talk to your dad?”
“I go put on my new suit!” She then takes Dale the phone, handing it to him, before rushing back to the box to grab the suit.