The Christmas gift

By Abbey Benninghoff
Bessemer, Pa.
Age 17

Honorable mention

Up at dawn, doing chores at six years of age may sound crazy, but for Grace, she thrived on that repetition. Now with the new baby in the family, her father needed the help in the barn.

The first white blanket of snow had fallen, unexpectedly, and it was cold, but not for Grace. Other things had been on Grace’s mind and the lines of people poring into the house did not help matters.

Ever since the baby was born, Grace had felt second best in everyone’s eyes, including her parents. Every day, family, friends, and neighbors would pore into the house to view the new baby, Jane. No one ever wondered where Grace was or how she was.

This upset Grace, but she knew that Christmas was soon and she would probably get the presents she wanted. Why wouldn’t she? She helped with the chores every day, listened and read the Bible. Every morning after helping with the chores, Grace would spend hours in the barn brushing one of their Belgians, Millie.

Many times every morning, Grace would push her ear into her golden coat and listen to the excitement that would roll inside of Millie. Millie was pregnant, but not due for another month. Every day Grace would mark a line on the beam in Millie’s stall, counting the days until she was due.

All of a sudden, Jane became really sick. Grace’s parents sat her down to tell her, “None of us will be getting Christmas gifts this year. Jane is really sick and money is tight.”

Grace exploded and ran to the barn. Her tears glistened into Millie’s golden coat. Little did she know she was going to receive a Christmas gift after all.

Christmas morning was no different from any other morning. Grace went outside to escape from Jane’s crying. When Grace arrived to Millie’s stall, she was astounded. There stood a baby, wobbly on its feet, a complete replica of Millie.

Millie stood over it and was licking it dry. Grace ran into the house, screaming. She grabbed towels and her dad.

The baby was small. Grace decided to name her Mel. After hours of drying Mel, Grace was instructed to come out of the freezing weather. When she arrived into the living room, there sat a box under the tree labeled: Grace.

Grace opened it. It was a small, rose-colored halter for the Mel. Every day Grace would slip the halter over the Mel’s head to see if it would fit. If it didn’t, she would mark a line on the beam counting the days until it would.

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