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Mia, her mom create a plan

Editor’s note: This is the 10th chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale, “The Golden Ornament” that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children.

Mia and her mom spent the next morning helping at the animal sanctuary. The community had rallied around the Camerons, and teams of volunteers already were finishing a temporary structure for the animals while the Camerons worked to rebuild the barn.

Mia spent a lot of time with the animals she’d rescued, petting them and talking to them. It might sound silly, but she felt like she had a bond with them now, and it almost seemed like the animals felt that way too.

Her mom dropped her off at Brandon’s afterward, and they spent the afternoon baking Christmas cookies with Ellie. It took everything she had to keep their dad’s secret, but she didn’t say a peep. Just imagining the looks on Brandon’s and Ellie’s faces when they saw their dad was enough for her to keep a thousand secrets.

When Mia shared the big surprise with her mom and her grandma, her mom had been excited and eager to help. She’d immediately called and fibbed to Brandon’s mom, asking if he could come have breakfast with Mia on Christmas morning and afterward, she would drive them over to their house to open presents together and have their annual brunch.

This fake breakfast would give them the time they needed to go get Brandon’s dad from the airport and take him home. Mia’s mom would be busy cooking Christmas dinner and wouldn’t be able to drive them, but she’d arranged for a cab to take Mia and Brandon to the airport.

Mia was so lost in her thoughts, she hadn’t realized Ellie disappeared from the kitchen until she came running up to her, holding out the golden ornament.

“What is this, Mia?” she asked, her eyes shining. “It was making your purse shake.”

Mia and Brandon exchanged a glance, and Brandon carefully pried the ornament from his sister’s fingers. “It’s just a special ornament, El. Don’t grab stuff out of other people’s bags, you know that’s not nice.”

Ellie pouted for a second, then grabbed a cookie and ran off to the playroom. Mia quickly twisted open the ornament, excited yet nervous to see what the ornament had in store for her next.

When out walking on a snowy day, always keep in mind

It could make someone’s day to return something left behind

“I think that’s the new cafe downtown, by the pizza place,” Brandon said, reading the address. He patted his stomach. “Perfect. I’m starving.”

Mia laughed. “You just ate at least 10 cookies, how can you be hungry?”

Read the next chapter of “The Golden Ornament” in tomorrow’s newspaper.

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