A five hour flight and now an hour and a half drive…her thoughts had been many through the hours. Allison began to second guess herself for about the one hundredth time since she came up with this brilliant idea.
It had been almost four years since she had last seen her parents and three years since they had last spoken; all because of preconceived ideas and too much pride.
And now, here it was, Christmas Eve. She could not help but feel nostalgic as she noticed the beautifully colored lights and wreaths that decorated the homes as she and Matt drove past. In another twenty minutes, she would be home. She wondered if her parents had changed much over the last few years, but more than that, she wondered if they would be happy to see her, or if their anger would continue to get in the way.
“Don’t worry, Ali, everything is going to be okay,” Matt comforted as he reached out and stroked the side of her face.
Matt; so kind, so loving, so reassuring. It killed her to know that he had been the reason why she and her parents had quarreled. Why was it that they could not see him for the wonderful man that she married? What did it matter that they were not of the same faith? If they only knew it was Matt who had encouraged her to visit them this Christmas… and besides, wasn’t it Matt who was by her side now, just as he had been for the last three years?
As Matt pulled into her parent’s driveway, Allison swallowed hard.
“Matt, maybe this wasn’t a good idea,” Allison said, shaking her head. “Maybe we should have called first to at least tell them we were coming. Wonder if they see that it’s us and won’t answer the door?”
“Ali, trust me. It’ll be fine,” he soothed, holding her hand.
After parking the car, Matt went around to the trunk and brought out a bag containing Christmas presents for Allison’s family. Slowly, she got out of the car and the two of them walked hand and hand to the front door.
Allison stood there, motionless, looking at Matt. Smiling at Ali, he put out his hand to ring the doorbell, but before he was able, the door opened quickly, causing Ali to jump back.
“Allison!” Before she could step through the door, both of her parent’s embraced her, pulling her inside.
The next several hours passed quickly and smoothly. It was as though none of the problems from the past few years had existed and neither Allison or her parents broached the subject. Shortly after dinner, Allison mentioned that she and Matt would be leaving and checking into a nearby hotel.
“We’ll hear nothing of the sort! You and Matt will stay in your old room. Tonight is Christmas Eve and we’ve spent too many Christmases apart as it is.”
That evening, as Matt and Allison lie side by side, she found it difficult to relax.
“Matt?” She whispered into the darkness of the room. But he did not answer as he was fast asleep.
After quietly climbing out of bed so as not to wake Matt, she went downstairs to make a cup of tea, and when she reached the living room, she found her parents talking quietly in front of the television.
“Allison! Is everything okay?” Her mother asked.
“Yes, Mom, everything’s fine. I just couldn’t sleep and didn’t want to wake Matt, so I thought I’d come down and make myself a cup of tea.”
“Your mother’s just made us a cup, so the kettle should still be hot.”
A few minutes later, Allison joined her parents in the living room. After a bit of small talk, Allison’s father took a deep breath.
“Allison, I want to tell you how very sorry your mother and I are. We have made a horrible mistake and we’re very proud to have Matt in our family. Can you forgive us, Ali?”
“Yes, dear,” Allison’s mother said softly. “Your father and I are so happy to know that you have found such a wonderful young man. We’re sorry that it’s taken us so long to realize that.”
“There’s nothing to forgive;” Allison replied. “We’re all together now, and that’s all that matters.”
Finishing her tea, Allison’s mother got up from the sofa. “Well, I hope you don’t mind, but I should go up and get some sleep. There’s a lot to do in the morning. Christmas dinner you know!”
“It’s okay, Mom, I’m heading up, too. After all, you’re going to need some help!” Allison replied.
“Yes, and Matt and I will help the both of you by giving you a play by play of the football game!”
Allison laughed softly, then said her goodnights and as she climbed back into bed alongside Matt, she couldn’t believe how things had turned around from how they had been just a few years before.
Christmas had been wonderful. Allison was pleased at how well her parents and Matt got along and she held back tears as she listened to her parents apologize to Matt for their narrow mindedness. Three days later, they were headed back to the airport to return home.
It was a tearful goodbye. As Allison and her mother walked to the car, she noticed that her father hung back with Matt. She watched while the two of them talked quietly. Her heart melted when her father embraced Matt as they said their goodbyes.
As the two of them drove toward the airport, Allison asked Matt what it was that her father had said to him.
“He just made me promise that we’d stay in touch and that we’d spend next Christmas and New Year with them as well.” But what Allison did not know was that Matt had called her parents days before their arrival to prepare the way for a smooth reunion, and that was what Allison’s father had been talking to Matt about and expressing his gratitude for when it had been time to leave.
“Thank you for making this one of the most wonderful Christmases I’ve ever had.” She leaned across the seat and gently kissed him on the cheek, not knowing what Matt had done for her and her parents.
“You’re welcome, Ali. And thank you for making me a part of your family.”