~ JESSICA SCOTT ~
That Time I Cheated at Christmas
When I was a little kid, my brother and I always had a game. We’d hunt through the house and try to find where Mom had hidden our Christmas presents. She was always really good about hiding them, even as we got older. But around middle school (I don’t remember exactly how old I was) my brother and I discovered that we could sneak a peek through the vent in the floor. So my brother and I laid awake until our parents thought we were in bed asleep and very quietly snuck to the vent.
And there we saw them. Our parents wrapping our presents on the kitchen table. We thought it was the coolest thing ever, watching our folks, getting one over on them.
But the joke was on us because the next morning, there was no Christmas morning surprise. Mom had always won and kept us guessing – what she was actually doing was preserving the surprise that was Christmas morning.
We never cheated again, even though we played the game like we still were trying to find them. I don’t know if Mom and Dad knew we’d cheated that year or not but it doesn’t matter. The lesson was ingrained onto both of our memories.
My kids still believe in Santa (as far as I know) and I’ll do whatever I can to prolong their belief in the surprise of Christmas morning.
There’s nothing in the world Army Sergeant Vic Carponti loves more than his wife and his country. Smart-mouthed and easy tempered, he takes everything as a joke…except his promise to come home to his wife, Nicole, for Christmas. As he prepares to leave for his latest deployment into Iraq, Vic will do everything he can to shield his beautiful, supportive wife from the realities of war…and from his own darkest fears.
As a career army wife, Nicole Carponti knows just what to expect from her husband’s tour of duty: loneliness, relentless worry, and a seemingly endless countdown until the moment Vic walks through the door again. But when the unthinkable happens, Nicole and Vic’s bond is tested like never before and changes everything they believe to be true about the power of love and the simple beauty of being home for the holidays.